Posted on 28 February 2011 with categories: Level E



Aah, finally! Finally we have an actually good parody of the romantic comedy. Even without the awesome twist at the end, I just loved what this episode did and how it poked fun at the genre and how it made everything look ridiculous with its ever-sharp wit. There also was a lot of building up in this episode, but in the end, it was totally worth it. This is really what an awesome comedy should be: don’t just show a bunch of random jokes, but have everything build up for each other and create a whole picture that’s larger than the sum of its parts.

The interesting thing is how this was written more than a decade ago, and the things it parodies still are incredibly overused, and it just showed how timeless this episode was. I also love how there finally is a series that acknowledges that love at first sight is pretty implausible, and how it takes this to the absurd by putting the fate of the world hanging on it. The inclusion of Kraft only made this better: his energy and sarcasm were awesome to watch during the building-up parts.

Not to mention the awesome excuse that the creators found in order to leave Ouji uninvolved in this episode. The different combinations of characters for each arc are really dynamic here and instead of overexposing the same characters, the creators really try to give all kinds of characters their own time to shine, going both for the main characters as the new ones that it introduces. And again, the characters in this arc are fairly simple, and make writing good characters look so easy.

The revelation that the lead guy was basically a lesbian was the highlight of this episode. It gave a completely different meaning to the episode, plus it also left a very interesting cliff-hanger for the next episode, which just has to be different from the previous. But then again, this series has shown before that it loves to toy with expectations.

Also, this all took place at a Ski Resort. Take that, hot spring beach school festival pool episodes!
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?



oh boy, this was a disaster. It was an episode that was doomed to fail, simply because of the decision of the creators to include the new girl into the cast of major characters. I mean… what exactly do they hope to get out of someone with such a terrible backstory? This episode could at least have been enjoyable if it wasn’t for her utterly contrived reason to fall in love with the lead character. I mean, is she supposed to be another parody or something?

This pretty much was an episode that contained nothig but character building, oly to come with some drama at the final minute. So, after having to sit through some completely generic dating scenes, what do we get? The lead female gets kidnapped. Ooh, we’re original now. Seriously, what happened? The drama in this show used to be so good. Cliches like these could be excused in the introduction of a series, to get the plot started. Not when you’re nearly done!

The only enjoyment in this episode was in the small details, like surprisingly smooth animation, the hilariously named “Mask Donalds”, good poses and facil expressions and the surprisingly good food jokes ehre, even though cooking girls usually are beating the same dead horse over and over again. Like I said: it could have been an interesting episode, but when the creators have such a terrible premise for an episode, what can really be done with it?
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation




Great to see that the third episode already tells about the background of the two lead characters. I mean, a dead mother is nothing new here, but usually when anime do that, they wait until very long before they come with the story that explained what happened to them. Doing this in the third episode really allows the series to go beyond that and use it in later episodes to its advantage.

And again: this episode mostly progressed like a normal ghost story, only for the climax to really get interesting. It’s a sign of great build-up, and if the creators are able to do this consistently shows that they know what they’re doing. Even when most of the episode is a standard ghost story, when you watch the episode back you can see the hints here and there that are all building up towards that climax.

This episode also showed the mysterious father of Dean and Sam for the first time. As a background, it’s definitely interesting. At this point it’s clear that something happened to that guy while his wife died. This episode seemed to suggest that she died by a mere poltergeist, but there’s probably more to it than just that. Oh, and I also liked that fortune teller.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

This month’s rankings of mine…. are nearly exactly the same as last month. Seriously, the only major surprise this month was that Fractale and Dragon Crsisis weren’t really good and that Kimi ni Todoke is finally going somewhere. Apart from that, every series pretty much continued on the same pace that it set a month ago. Come on, I’m expecting some good stuff here for March. Dare to evolve!

#16 (16) – Dragon Crisis – (6,75/10) – Alas, Dragon Crisis did seem genuine enough to get some good drama, but in the end it never really used this, and came with the most corny stories, one after the other. Any potential created by the good animation and dialogue ended up completely nullified by the bad acting and cheesy scenarios.
#17 (17) – Suite Precure – (7,25/10) – I appreciate that this series is trying to include stories that revolve around the main characters. Beyond that though, it’s a major step down from Heartcatch Precure. The execution and animation is nowhere as polished. The scenarios are dull, it lacks energy, the acting from the villains is horribly silly. At this point the characters still have the potential to become well developed in the second half, but I do not want to sit through 26 boring and badly written episodes to get there. This one is dangerously close to being dropped.
#16 (14) – To Aru Majutsu no Index – (7,5/10) – I think this month really summarized my problems with this second season. The last two episodes are a pretty good thriller. But did we really have to sit through two whole episodes of random goofing off in order to get there? The thing is, that I’m not enjoying these characters at all. They didn’t change in the slightest from what they were at the end of the first season. This series spends so much time on random scenes, but in the end it doesn’t really do anything with them and they’re merely there for fanservice.
#15 (9) – Fractale – (7,75/10)

This is coming from the director of Kannagi, so I already was fearing this show to be unbalanced. And unfortunately these fears came true. The thing is that this show doesn’t know what it’s good at, and instead spends way too much time on its very annoying lead character. It’s only eleven episodes long, and yet it spends way too much of its time on random undirected goofing off.

#14 (15) – Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? – (7,75/10)

In this month, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka was either amazing, or a boring cliche-fest. Right now this all seems to even out, but I do hope that next month will focus much more on what this show is good at.

#13 (16) – Gosick – (8/10)

The Wolf-arc was the best arc so far. It’s a bit weird, but it used its red herrings well and especially Victorique emerged as a better character because of it. This show still has its problems, but this month was actually interesting enough to make up for it.

#12 (13) – Kimi ni Todoke – (8/10)

Finally! After thirty episodes, of this show not going anywhere, the romance between the lead couple has finally started moving. It’s still quite slow, but for once the characters are playing off each other, instead of simply refusing to develop. It still doesn’t excuse the first season, but at the very least this was by far the best month from Kimi ni Todoke so far.

#11 (12) – Wolverine – (8/10)

This month saw Wolverine balance between its fights and its exposition, and to be honest it’s doing quite a good job at it, keeping to the same philosophy as in January: be simple, but effective. The characters, both good and bad, all have something endearing, and the action is pretty decent. The stiff acting and simple characters and story will prevent this one from ever becoming something great, but as for entertainment, it’s doing a pretty good job here.

#10 (10) – Mitsudomoe – (8,25/10)

Yes: Mitsudomoe’s second season was clearly better than the first. The jokes were better, the ratio of bad jokes was smaller, it made sure not to milk its jokes out, and also put a lot of effort into portraying the characters as actual characters. The characterization also improved a lot, which also made this a bit of a nostalgic series that I found surprisingly easy to relate to at times.

#9 (11) – Showa Monogatari – (8,25/10)

Episodes 2 and 4 popped up at the beginning of this month, and they were quite good. What makes Showa Monogatari more than just another slice of life story about a random kid is that it also knows that it should pay attention to the rest of his family: all of them are interesting characters at this point, which is a good sign for the rest of the series, which will continue somewhere around the start of May.

#8 (8) – Bakuman – (8,25/10)

Well, it’s taken a while, but Bakuman is finally getting interesting here. The characters have plenty of development put into them by now, and they’re really playing off each other nicely. Even though the pacing is slow, you can still feel some of their energy. Especially the long dialogues between them are the highlights here.

#7 (7) – Yumekui Merry – (8,25/10)

The problem with this show is that that beach episode destroyed the flow this show was in a bit. In the end, it’s wonderfully executed, but doesn’t really have the most ambitious storyline to work with. This show can still deliver a great ending, but the creators really are going to have to try hard here.

#6 (6) – Letter Bee – (8,5/10)

It’s a bit of a shame, but this series could have taken more risks when it comes to wrapping up its main storyline. It’s all very solid, but not as amazing as this show once was. Whenever it focuses on the characters though, it’s at its best, and this month again was no exception.

#5 (new) – Supernatural The Animation – (8,5/10)

Okay, so it’s probably going to be an arduous task trying to blog this series, but it’s really worth it so far, especially the second episode was excellent and very well written. The graphics are also gorgeous, here’s one to look out for.

#4 (4) – Star Driver – (8,5/10)

The thing is that Star Driver spends a lot of time on the characters doing random things. Even now that the climax is so near, it still spends a lot of time on this school life. The balance it has struck with the actual plot and characters though, is excellent and I’m still enjoying these characters quite a bit, though it’s not going to be the classic I originally hoped it would be.

#3 (5) – Hourou Musuko – (8,5/10)

Two months in, and Hourou Musuko is still doing what it really does well: bringing life to large amounts of characters. The characterization is still excellent and subtly detailed, and the characters all balance their maturity and their childishness wonderfully, leading to some great characters.

#2 (3) – Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – (8,75/10)

This series is still continuing its string of excellent episodes. Jut about every episode here delivers and adds new depth to the characters; it’s a 13-episode series that fully knows how to use its time.

#1 (1) – Level E – (9/10)

This month for Level E was weaker than in January, but only by a small bit. It’s still my favourite series of the season due to its creative and sometimes outright mean scenarios and an awesome sense of humour. It’s always completely unpredictable and even though it’s composed of random stories, the acting, creativity and scenario all come together wonderfully and make this one of the best comedy anime I’ve seen.

Posted on 27 February 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




So, time for me to review another installment of the World Masterpiece Theatre. Little Princedss Sara tells about about a young, really rich girl who joins a boarding school in London. What happens after that though… let’s just say that I’ve rarely seen so much suffering in just one series. If you’re planning to watch this series, be prepared for a gruelling journey.

It’s hard to talk about this series withuot spoilers, but let me just say that Little Princess Sara has very strong messages against poverty and the hypocricy to which people look at it. It’s a long series, 46 episodes. In this time it delivers a haunting and very in-depth portrayal of poverty and neglect on children. Beyond that, ti also has strong morals and values that are delivered with heart, instead of cheese.

The scenario really helps by being wonderfully realistic. Seriously, a ton of time in this series is spent on very mundane tasks and nothing else. The creators strike an excellent balance between this and character development, leading to an entire cast of characters with a lot of depth and development, miles away from your usual stereotypes.

Like all good WMTs, it also really knows how to build up. It’s a very one-sided series, but the final climax is without a doubt a highlight of the entire series in which everything it built up to comes together. This show definitely knows how to do drama well, and even if the animation is dated at this point, it still manages to bring the characters to life with more detail than most series nowadays can.

I’ve got lot of praises for this series, but at the same time I also want to say that I do not consider this series amongst the best of the World Masterpiece Theatre. I’m going to be nitpicking a bit here, but the standard of this franchise is just so damn high. My issue with this series was that at times, it was a bit too “shoujo”, if that makes any sense. Some twists were delivered with a sense of shoujo-ific melodrama that definitely could have been done more subtle, and some characters spend a long time as cliched and boring rivals who do exactly what you predict them to do, and there is one twist near the end that is just… way too convenient. Sara herself is also way too pure. It’s like she could have been the love child of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa, or in that direction. All of this does not create characters as realistic, as some of the other WMT series, plus the one-sidedness of the plot also doesn’t create them as dynamic as the others.

At this point I’vwe managed to finish 10 WMT-series, so here I present an updated ranking of my favourite WMT-series to close off this reivew (the ones that I fully finished, at least), in the order of the ones I liked the least to the ones I liked the most. Little Princess Sara ranks fifth. It’s a wonderful series with amazing and unique characters, despite my above criticisms I really recommend it if you like the kind of children series that really try to tell an excellent story that takes both itself and its target audience seriously.
10. My Daddy Long Legs
9. Konnichiwa Anne
8. Tom Sawyer
7. Ie Naki Ko Remi
6. Romeo’s Blue Skies
5. Little Princess Sara
4. Anne of Green Gables
3. Porfy no Nagai Tabi
2. Perrine Monogatari
1. Les Miserables – Shoujo Cosette

Storytelling: 8/10 – Realistic, detailed and down to earth, though a bit one-sided and melodramatic at times.
Characters: 9/10 – Realistic and full of depth and development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Dated, but very detailed. The soundtrack is a bit disappointing, though.
Setting: 9/10 – Excellent social commentary, themes and messages. Plus a wonderful portrayal of London of more than a century ago.

Suggestions:
Perrine Monogatari
Anne of Green Gables

Posted on with categories: Star Driver



This just dawned on me while I watched this episode, but… am I the only one who gets the feeling that the creators are planning the kiss scene at the drama to happen around the climax of this series? I mean, especially after the cliffhanger of this episode suddenly showed Wako volunteering to be on the receiving end of Takuto’s kiss, this has to point at something that the creators are planning for that finale. It’s a nice twist, though: Wako finally accepted here that she’s into Takuto here. This episode was definitely a nice way to take care of one of the love triangles in this series.

And as for the rest of this episode, the creators did create a pretty good climax here for the characters who were introduced so relatively late in the series. The two new girls have been quite strange villains: they didn’t seem to care at all about being correct villains, and instead seemed like just adrenaline junkies who kept seeking for thrills. A way to go to phase 3,5 that combines you with your Cybody is an interesting way to say goodbye to them.

Takashi returning meanwhile had it coming, but I ‘m glad that the creators indeed went there. Again, it shows promise and brings the Adult Bank back into the picture, with someone who can actually apprivoise. This also explains the relatively large amount of time that the creators spent on building up this guy, even though at first he seemed like a very insignificant character.

And on a side-note: why didn’t Head sign the paintings of Takuto’s mother with his usual “R”?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Now, I am writing this review as a fan of the Votoms Franchise. If this movie had not been part of it, I probably would have rated it higher, but only slightly.

The reason I’m saying this is because of the following: I became a fan of Votoms because of the alternative it provided to your average cheesy and angsty giant robot series. Where series like Gundam and its ilk were full of angst and cheesy morals, it provided a mature storytelling that took both itself and its characters seriously, going beyond characters screaming and yelling melodramatically. And really, I’m all for going into different directions with your franchise, but Case;Irvine does everything that Votoms avoided so well.

In Votoms, the fact that people die in a war was taken for granted. That’s what allowed it to pull so much interesting drama. Case;Irvine meanwhile is all about “war is bad”, “thou shalt not kill”, “oh, I’m the villain so I kill people for no reason at all muaha” and “ooh, I killed many innocent people in the past. I’m very angsty now! And this just goes on and on. You remember that little girl in the promo art? Her entire point in this movie is to angst and remind the lead character of how he shouldn’t fight. This is not Votoms at all. Heck, it’s even too cheesy to be like Gundam.

I’m also am not kidding about that villain, by the way. Case;Irvine could have been at least a decent angst movie if it wasn’t for this guy. While the lead character still had his scenes in which he doesn’t angst, this guy absolutely doesn’t. He’s consistently yelling, sprouting cheesy morals and looking for a fight with the lead character. This guy is completely overacting for the sake of overacting. To make matters even worse, Votoms also stood out in the way that it didn’t have any custom built mechas besides slight upgrades or colour changes. This guy then comes out of nowhere and mounts these gigantic hands to his own mecha, making it look completely silly in the more realistic setting of Votoms. The entire final battle (which takes up a lot of the time of this movie) is reduced to this really boring angst-fest in which the umpth strange robot has to be taken care of.

The sole salvation of this movie is the music. It’s perfect, and really atmospheric and does a truly excellent job of building up the atmosphere. But seriously. Please let Finder and Koei Futatabi not be so ridiculously angsty. Or heck. This wasn’t even angst, this was downright emo.

Storytelling: 6/10 – It’s definitely different from the usual Votoms. However, instead of experimenting with a unique new style, it got turned into a generic super robot movie.
Characters: 5/10 – Pathetic villain, way too much angst and none of the characters make any impact at all.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Awesome soundtrack. The animation is there… but not really remarkable in any way.
Setting: 5/10 – Destroys some of the the core aspects of Votoms. Not good.

Suggestions:
Mobile Police Patlabor WXIII (an example of how to correctly get a movie to take on new characters and a new direction).
The Wings of Honneamise
Jin Roh – The Wolf Brigade

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



In 1977, the people from Sanrio came together and determined that kids’ movies overall were a bit too happy and cheerful. So, with some excellent writers and one heck of a catchy theme song, they created Chirin no Suzu. A story that does exactly the opposite of what the cover seems to suggest.

Believe me, this movie is dark. It’s still aimed at children, but unlike the vast majority of the other movies of this genre, it refuses to dumb itself down for its audience. It starts out as your general lamb versus wolf story, but quickly steps away from all other stories that follow the same trope. It’s packed with mature life lessons and morals that other kids’ movies usually just gloss over, or refuse to even mention.

Let me tell you what makes this such a great movie, though: it’s a movie entirely dedicated to character development. It’s a character study, and a wonderful one. The movie is only forty minutes long, but it’s entirely dedicated to the lead character, Chirin, learning new things and changing significantly because of this.

It does have some flaws though. The only available version seems to be an English dub. Most of the voices are very good (especially the voice of the wolf is awesome), though the voice for the little lead sheep can be very hammy. This does lead to a number of very melodramatic scenes that really could have been done more subtle.

Now, the character designs are very simple. At first sight they may not look like much, but the inbetween animation is actually very good here. It’s very smooth, especially for an anime. Overall, if you don’t mind the melodrama and are looking for an old, yet different movie, this is a very interesting one to watch.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Dark and very violent for a kids’ movie, but packs a great story with many morals and life lessons. At times it’s overdramatic, though.
Characters: 9/10 – Great character development that is really well used.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Okay, so it looks dated, but the inbetween animation still is very good and the soundtrack is excellent as well.
Setting: 8/10 – Not the main focus of this movie at all, but doesn’t get in the way of what’s important.

Suggestions:
A Tree of Palme
The Dog of Flanders
Oseam

Posted on 26 February 2011 with categories: Mitsudomoe



Okay, so the next episode is supposed to be not part of the second season, but instead it’s something like “the deleted scenes of season one”. I’m really not sure what the creators meant by that, but it looks like it’s going to be new content. Because of that I’m going to wait till reviewing this series until next week.

In any case, for the official last episode, this was an excellent one to close off the series with. Perhaps it wasn’t the funniest, but I almost have no complaints about it either. There was just one minute that didn’t work, the rest of this episode left a great aftertaste behind. I really enjoyed this series much more than I originally thought I would.

The first sketch interestingly actually fixed one of the annoying subplots of the first season: the endless misunderstandings between Hitoha and Yabecchi about the Gachi rangers, which was one of the most dragged out jokes of the entire first season. Finally Hitoha actually cleared up this misunderstanding.

Sketch two was pure comedy gold. It again made use of a lot of different characters in its jokes as the characters practiced for and participated in the relay race at their sports festival. Even here the creators still combined some of the things we already knew about the characters with new jokes. Chiba especially was on fire in this part.

Sketch three suddenly brought in a new character: a sweet potato seller. This also was quite fun, especially in the way that Hitoha mind-screwed him. It did go on for a bit too long, though. The sketch should have ended when the kids left. There was no need to get this guy to ask the ages of two more teachers. Especially since the latter gave the annoying female teacher more screentime. She by far was the worst character of the entire season.

Finally, the final part of this series wasn’t meant to be funny, but instead showed how the triplets and their father changed from when they were still four years old. A really great way to technically end this series with.

As for next week, I think that it’s all going to depend on what exactly got cut during the first season, and whether or not it was written in the production of the first season or the second season. Like, did they animate a bunch of sketches and were they redeemed inappropriate, or are they some manga chapters that were originally left unanimated? I mean, the series changed significantly between the two seasons, so it all depends on whether it’s going to be like the first season, or the much more balanced second season.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Letter Bee



“Don’t bother chasing him. He’ll have no chance of getting in our way.”

Dude… no. Just no.

Overall, this episode was quite solid, but I feel that the creators could have taken more risks. The result is a lot of cliches that you usually see when a story is nearly over: once morally ambiguous villains turn evil, good guys who were tempted by the dark side turn good again and due to the absence of any sort of development from the government itself… it has turned into a good versus evil story. Bummer.

Now, it’s not like this episode was bad or anything. I mean, Cabernet versus the capital, this has been built up for an entire season now, so it was going to be obvious that the climax would focus on this. Lawrence’s decision to sacrifice the ones who didn’t become a spirit also has a perfect explanation when you look at the way he’s willing to sacrifice in order to get to his goals, even though he originally probably didn’t intend to sacrifice them. I’d just wish that he didn’t make it so easy for Gauche to choose which side to join.

And as for the lack of any info on the capital, it’s an interesting twist in any case. The fact that we don’t know anything about them is definitely left up to the imagination of the viewer. We can sort-of imagine why they made the decisions they made, but I like how it’s still anyone’s guess as to who they exactly are. So yeah; last episode: don’t ruin that by turning them into stereotypical evil overlords or something.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:51 PM)
    Creating a account on the site is easy but I am not sure if you need a WordPress account to access it. Though if you email me the thing I can grab screenshots for you to save you the trouble.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:14 PM)
    @Aidan: I believe I have your email from the time I gave you the Black Desert Online Pass. Whichever way is easier for you is fine with me.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:10 PM)
    @bam, Sounds fine to me. Do you happen to have any of our emails? If you have a MAL account I could send you my email through there. Or I could create an Account for you on here?
    @Mario, Silly Mario. Don’t call me mister. It’s Lord Aidan, you filthy mongrel.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 12:41 PM)
    @Topgavin, I remember that being three panels in the manga but yep, they just had to amp it up. Sigh…
    Bloody hell Sliver Link.
  • topgavin
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 12:02 PM)
    Ep4 for Illya was… interesting…. Don’t know if I’m now more or less interested in the MC’s
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 09:02 AM)
    @Bam: sounds good to me really. The more the merrier. Let see if Mr. Aidan is alright with that.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 08:57 AM)
    Not really necessary to make an account or give me the WordPress pass. I’ll just email the review to Mario or Aidan.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 08:55 AM)
    I’m willing to cover Berserk if nobody else is up for it.
  • afgm
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 08:35 AM)
    nobody’s reviewing Berserk? A SIN!!
  • Vonter
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 07:17 AM)
    @Bam Read the Mob Psycho entry.

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Red Turtle a

The Red Turtle Review – 93.5/100

Welcome to my first movie review on World Animation section, the column where I wholly dedicated to indie/ art-house animated features around the world that hardly got coverage anywhere really (but rest assure our since sometimes I will review anime movies as well). And what’s a better way to start this section by reviewing one of […]

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Flying witch Review – 86/100

As I mentioned in one of my weekly posts, most of the reason why a slice-of-life anime show don’t work well is not because there’s nothing happen, but more because the cast isn’t interesting enough or the show tends to repeat the things that we already know. I’m happy to say that this is not […]

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Bungou Stray Dogs Review – 62/100

Well, we don’t usually give a review on the first cour of anime show, given the fact that the second part will air next autumn season. But since I’m not certain I would cover its second half, plus I don’t think this series will improve itself, I might as well give Bungou Stray Dogs a […]

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Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

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Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

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Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]