Initial Review: 91 Days

91-days91 Days is a revenge story, through and through, but where it differs is the message it has to say. On the onset of the series, we are shown the scenario in which would cause our main character, Avilio, to seek revenge. Avilio is sent a letter that tells him the names of those he seeks revenge on, and decides to carry out his plan, after infiltrating the family that harbors those people. At the onset of the series, Avilio’s motives and actions are very clear, and his goal is very well established in his mind, as well as the viewers. However, his all changes shortly into the series and this not only gets the audience to question what is going to happen, but Avilio himself begins to question his own motives. After meeting up with one of the targets of Avilio’s revenge, Nero, he slowly befriends him, and the two end up spending time together and getting to know one another. As we come to find out, Nero is actually a pretty great and nice guy, despite of what he did, and this causes some conflict in Avilio, and the audience, as they aren’t sure who they should be rooting for. The mafia backdrop is merely a vehicle for this story on revenge and its nature, and only seems to emphasize the idea of trust and betrayal. The series takes special care to demonstrate the ways in which one person revenge plot can greatly influence the lives of others, and also how it can negatively impact the bearer of the plot. We also get to see the ways in which the ideas of revenge and the mindset of one who seeks it can be contagious and spread through people. We get to see the chaos that can ensue when hope turns into despair as trust is betrayed and alliances crumble. The series was very well crafted with these ideas in mind. The soundtrack, and especially the opening match these ideas perfectly, and not only that, but they also set the tone for the series as being slow, dark, sad, and overall very powerful. The colors used in this series are mostly desaturated to fit the tone of bleak and miserable, which is the life of one whose purpose in life is revenge. We get to see the ways that Avilio’s life is drained from him as the strain and the stress of his plot only seem to grip him, and pull him in multiple directions that his body can’t handle, he is being split in half by his own emotions and troubled past. Overall, the series does a very good job of addressing its themes, staying focused and keeping the viewers attention, and while  there are certainly some noteworthy flaws, the series still manages to get its message across in a very good way. The ending is also very well done and also seems to some up all of the series themes and ideas with a bang. I thoroughly enjoyed this series, and would much like to see more like it come out in the future, and so I can, with full confidence, give this series an:

8 out of 10.              Update

Initial Review: Macross Δ

macross-deltaAs my second experience in the Macross franchise, Macross Δ was certainly a pleasure to watch. I first got into the Macross series when I watched Macross Frontier, a series I consider a masterpiece (and yes, I know I haven’t watched the Original or Do You Remember Love yet, I know I’m a scrub, I’m getting to them). And now on to Δ, we begin the series with the introduction of our love triangle members, Hayate Immelmann, our blue haired male lead who just so happens to be one of the greatest fighter pilots ever, Freyja Wion, our soon to be pop-idol singer who also happens to be a Windermerean (an alien race), and is also a giant ball of energy (also best girl), and Mirage Jenius, who not only is an aside to the Original SDF Macross, but also happens to be a decent pilot as well as being part Zentradi (another alien race), she is often times screwed over in all regards when it comes to this series. Now, onto the plot; it is utterly ridiculous, and if you can;t seem to get into it, you will probably not end of enjoying the series as a whole, but if you can get into it, you’re gonna love it. The general idea is that music and singing is basically a “weapon” that is used to quell a disease known as Var Syndrome, which causes people to go berserk and go on massive killing rampages and stuff; you know, normal stuff. And basically what ends up happening is that we follow our main trio of characters in their journey through a tough war while new crazy elements are added to the science of this world and the overall plot keeps getting zanier. That is this series in a nutshell, but one of the main draws for this series is the music, the music is great, and that the giant mecha fights (yeah, there are giant robots in here as well) are great backdrops for musical scores and the such, there’s a lot of music, and it almost all sounds really amazing. The animation is solid throughout, and the CG seemed to be on point. Overall, I would say that this series is very specialized and that you will either end up loving it, or hating it, and I just so happen to fall into the loving it category. On a side note, it should be said that this and most other Macross series are completely separate from any other plot or storyline in the Macross franchise, and the only similarity is that they are all in the same universe, and so it is entirely possible to watch all the many shows in any order you want, Delta (if you didn’t know, that “Δ” thing is the Greek letter Delta) included, and so go nuts with your watch order of the series. After having seen 2 installations in the franchise, I can say that they are both great series although there are some things I would have liked Delta to have done better, and so I give this series a:

9 out of 10              Update

Initial Review: Tales of Zestiria the X

tales-of-zestiria-the-xTales of Zestiria the X falls under the sub genre of, “and the hero saves the world” and in that nature it is a fairly generic story, however, it does bring to the table some pretty likable characters and a rather interesting world, so as to make the series and enjoyable experience (I have not played any “Tales of” games and so I can’t say anything about them, and this review has not been influenced by them). First off we have our main cast of characters which include Sorey, our hero, Alisha Diphda, our warrior princess character, and Mikleo, our super powered friend character. These are the main characters of the series, or at least as of now, considering that the series has a second season coming out during the Winter 2017 season, but I’ll get to that later. Sorey starts off looking like a typical naive hero character that doesn’t know anything about anything, and that is largely true, the only thing that makes him special is that he can see and hear Seraphim, which brings me to my next point, Mikleo, Sorey’s childhood friend who just so happens to be one of these Seraphim. Mikleo largely makes up for Sorey’s faults by usually having a logical processing component, which Sorey is usually lacking and so Mikleo keeps Sorey from doing anything too stupid while also backing him up when he’s in a pinch, not only that, but he’s also pretty funny. Alisha is falls under the warrior princess archetype in a almost all aspects except that she is opposed to fighting and war, and is always trying to help the weak, making her stand out from the rest of the warrior princesses, but she is still a fairly generic character who I found liking, but I never was actually rooting for her. She comes off as rather naive and this is apparent to most of the characters around her, most notably, Rose (best girl). Rose isn’t a main character during this first season, but given what we got at the end of this first season, I can almost guarantee that she will become incredibly important during the second season. Rose, unlike Alisha or Sorey, is seen as a realist as opposed to an idealist, she is a lot more pessimistic than those two, and often times a lot more sensical; she is also not above killing people. There are also 2 more notable Seraphim that Sorey meets on his journey, Lailah and Edna. Lailah being the fire entity and Edna being the earth one, and I forgot to mention, but Mikleo is water. And now you might be wondering, there’s something missing here, aren’t there usually four elements? and yes, that is true, but we won’t know more about that until season 2. The unfortunate thing about this series however, is that the last few episodes were incredibly rushed and the story moved at a blistering pace, this caused things to feel uneven and feel very confusing, and this could have very easily been avoided had they left out the entire 2 episode arch where it instead showed a completely different story from a completely different game; the story had a Tales of Berseria arch. Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the arch, it had really interesting characters and a plot that sounded like it was going to be really good, but I feel that they should have instead just made it its own series instead of placing inside another one, this would have greatly improved the pacing issues of the later episodes. And so, after taking all this in mind, I give this series a:

7 out of 10              Update

Initial Review: Grave of the Fireflies

grave-of-the-firefliesGrave of the Fireflies was a rather depressing story about 2 kids trying to survive on their own after their house is destroyed and their mother is taken away from them; it shows the lengths people will go to in order to survive. The setting takes place in late WWII, and begins as a firebombing raid destroys our protagonist, Seita’s , town. He is left to care for his young sister after this incident, and makes the decision to move in with his aunt. Things happen, and the 2 end up moving out and they begin trying to live on their own. That is the basic structure of the story. Seita, is for the most part, a character whose only goal is to make sure his sister, Setsuko, survives and that is the driving force behind many of his actions, while Setsuko is still incredibly young and knows little about the real world. It is this dynamic that makes it even harder on Seita, as he has taken it upon himself to try and keep Setsuko happy and away from thinking negatively, little does he know that this is also going to have a negative effect on him. This film is not a happy one by any stretch of the imagination, and there is very little joy that is seen; it is the brutal reality of trying to raise a small child on your own without a steady supply of food nor water. The film was definitely one I would recommend you watch, but it certainly wasn’t a masterpiece, and so I give this movie an:

8 out of 10

Initial Review: Gunbuster

gunbusterThis series certainly showed promise in the beginning, but I also had some concerns for it, and unfortunately, Gunbuster continued to make those same mistakes. First off, I’ll start with the parts that I did like about the series that kept it from falling in abysmal land: the ending was pretty good, the “big bad” of the series was handled pretty well, the robots looked cool, I overall liked the aesthetic of the show, and the plot points all seemed to connect in a reasonable way. That said, the series was still far from great. The series as a whole felt incredibly rushed, and some of the key plot points, thought logical, were blazed through without proper setup, and had lackluster finishing. There was a love interest that developed into “true love” in a time span of about 10 minutes, a random disease that spawns out of no where, that causes great strife amongst the cast, characters behaving in violently different manners, and some drama that felt very forced. If the series had had more time, and developed some of these things, it definitely could have been good, but with only 6 episodes, the series tried to get through too much material in too short of a time span. There isn’t much else to say for an Initial Review, other than that the series had the potential to be great, but tried to do too much in the little time it had, and if it had consolidated its efforts onto a few couple of points, it could have shined gloriously because it had the backbone to do so. They tried to make a skyscraper with only the materials for a small house, and those materials ran thin; they just couldn’t pile everything into such a short window of opportunity. If a re-adaptation were to come out and it were to be of normal length, I would certainly watch it just to see all that they could improve on, because this series could have been so much more than what it was. It is unfortunate, but because of these serious faults, I give this series a:

5 out of 10.              Update

Initial Review: Re: Zero

re-zeroWe all knew this was coming, I couldn’t not make a review for this show, I mean, it’s like super popular right now, and that can only be good for my view count; and so, we have my initial review of Re: Zero. The series starts off with a 50 minute pilot episode, and that basically covers almost all of the general level exposition we get in the series, and also gets us familiar with the gimmick of the series, the time loop ability, or to spell it out, our main character has basically obtained a real life version of the respawn mechanic from videos games, although he can’t choose his save points. This I think is a very interesting concept, and one that did keep me attached to the series for the first few episodes before the novelty wore off. The animation in the series is astounding, and the soundtrack is also very good. The story follows a few archs, and establishes a main storyline, but that isn’t touched on too much in the actual series, and we instead are shown many smaller archs that play into the one major line. We have our main character, Subaru Natsuki, who turns out to be a shut-in NEET (Not in Employment Education nor Training). We have our stereotypical love interest white haired half elf girl Emilia, and also, Reddit’s waifu of the year, Rem (the blue haired demon girl that’s all over the internet). Now that we have the important characters, lets get on with the story. As it would turn out, if you couldn’t figure out from the title (Starting Life in Another World From Zero), this story is set in a fantasy world, in which our “hero” (antihero? not yet though, but potentially) Subaru is transported to, although it is in an unusual way, as it happens as he is conscious, thus causing him to freak out, as his typical journey home from the convenience store has taken a bit of a detour (no really, his groceries go with him). From here we see that Subaru, like many of you readers, is very well aware of how this is supposed to work, in the sense that he has now become the OP god of this world and that everything will be handed to him until he becomes emperor of mankind, except that doesn’t happen and he actually gets the crap kicked out of him by a bunch of street thugs. As the story goes on, we see Subaru repeat the same time loop until he eventually succeeds, and oh yeah, forgot to mention, but his respawn ability is just like it sounds, it activates upon death, So we get to watch Subaru get brutally murdered a couple of times, fun. As the story continues, we see Subaru come across problems, fail to solve them, and through countless trial and error, we see him succeed, if that isn’t a metaphor for how success works, then I don’t know what is. That is one of the most important parts about the story, is that it is a very clear representation of the ideology of never giving up, and this is VERY apparent in one of the episodes, where we see the many colors of the title. We are also introduced to new characters, each with their very unique philosophies and ideas, and each of them lands a certain impression on Subaru, and each of them help him grow as a character, as Subaru is a very dynamic character. The story has 3 main archs that are shown, each with its own set of unique ideas, and stakes, and each of them has their specific dramatic moments, with one arch arguably being able to be split into 2 smaller archs, but that’s for another day. Now with all that said, there are still some problems I have with the series, and those problems mostly come in the later archs, and so I don’t wanna spoil them. This problem however may just stem from the fact that I watched the series episodically instead of via way of marathon (what I would advise for almost all series). And as such, I find it very difficult to gives this series a solid rating without having first rewatched the series in a Marathon like fashion, and so (until a rewatch) I give this series a:

? out of 10.

First Impressions: Gunbuster

gunbusterI’m 2 episodes into it, and Gunbuster feels like a much different series than I’m used to, and I like that, however, that still doesn’t mean I think the series is without its shaking moments. First off, the series feels very rushed, and didn’t take much time to flesh out its characters, and that hurts it a lot; while they did seem to give each one a personality, they have yet to give them some compelling characteristics. I hope the series doesn’t continue on the path it has, with how rushed a lot of the character development is, if it can solve that, I’m confident that I will enjoy this series. What it does well, is set up some good action sequences, and if the character development were there, it would have set up some very good drama pieces, but because it wasn’t, those scenes fell a little flat. I have hopes for this series going forward, and hope that it will slow down as it exits its exposition stage and decides to develop things properly. Our main character, Noriko Takaya, could definitely could be fleshed out some more, but she does have the template for a very likable and fun character, and I hope that as I continue watching, I will be able to root for her. I’m hopeful for this series because it has the structure to support a very well done and thought out series, but whether or not it can capitalize on that has yet to be seen, and I hope that I’m right for putting my faith in it.

Initial Review: Taboo Tattoo

taboo-tattooOh dear, this review may sound a little ranty, but if you’ve seen the show, you know why. Taboo Tattoo, from the first episode looked like it at least had some potential to be at least half decent, but upon finishing the entire series, I can say that it most certainly was not. Not only was the story, a complete mess, but the characters didn’t make any sense most of the time, the story tried to put in random comedy scenes in out of know where, tried to have a serious and dark story, although everything that ended up happening was utterly ridiculous, and instead of just going for a “we know it’s bad, let’s have fun with it” they decided to try and save the sinking ship by adding more water to it, there was only one part of it, where they just said screw it, and decided to go all out on the “this is stupid, let’s throw in something that is so dumb and bad that people will actually root for it”, and that part was the death flag guy, who only enters around the 10th or 11th episode, so it was a little late to save the series (also, there’s a Colonel Sanders, but he ends up being more cringe worthy than fun). There’s so many other problems about this series, but I really don’t like giving it more time than it already has, that’s just not fair to the good shows, and so you should avoid it at all costs, seriously, it’s absolutely horrendous, and I give it a:

2 out of 10.

Initial Review: Wolf Children

wolf-childrenWolf Children, is a movie that one might look at, think about it, and come up with their own ideas as to what the film is about, but no matter who that person is, they will never be able to come up with the entirety of what the film is, and stands for. I went into this film thinking that is was going t be about child raising, and while that is part of it, I never imagined that it would venture into as many things as it did, and explore each of them with incredible detail, and great timing. What makes this film so great, is that it touches on just about everything there is to “life”, and I mean that in the sense of the human experience. We get to see the flowers (haha) of love as our main character, Hana, falls in love with a man, we get to see them give birth, and raise their children, we get to see the difficulties of a child growing up in an unfamiliar environment, and understanding who they are, we get to see how cruel society and, especially kids, can be, the way people grow to accept one another, we get to see the effects of loss, and finally, we see the parting of parent and child, there’s hardly anything left to cover. While this movie is very long, it is still amazing how much of a story it was able to tell, and is definitely something that you should consider watching soon. The soundtrack fits perfectly, and the animation is solid. You get to see the joys of life in the playful fun of the children, and the bitterness of what life can be like, through Hana, and the other adults in her life. Overall, I would say that, while this film is not my favorite, it deserves nothing less than a:

10 out of 10.

Initial Review: Perfect Blue

perfect-blueThis review for the film, Perfect Blue, is going to be very short, mostly because I had difficulty picking up and understanding everything that was happening. I was able to (I think) understand the general conflict and climax, as well as the conclusion, but I am still very confused on most of what happened, and the entire film felt like one giant mess that I’ll have to pick through in order to understand to a reasonable degree. I don’t think the series is bad though, and I’ll have to put some more time into rewatching the series, in order to get a better grasp of what happened. I do think you should check it out to see if you can better understand it than I did, but as for now, I don’t feel like I can give the film a rating that I’m happy with, and so (Until a Full Review) I give the film a:

? out of 10.              Update