Initial Review: Otona Joshi no Anime Time

otona-joshi-no-anime-timeThis review is going to be slightly different than most, and that would be because Otona Joshi no Anime Time is and interesting little series. To start off, there are 4 separate episodes of the series that are all completely independent of each other, and so instead of reviewing the series as a whole, I’ll instead be giving a short and quick piece about each of the individual episodes and then I’ll give my recommendation for that specific episode. To start off, is the first episode, which is filled with symbolism, and has a great story to tell and is very easy to get invested in. I would say that the first episode is an absolute must watch for anyone, it really is quite fantastic with the way it presents its story and concludes it. The second episode is more about worry and cooking, with a lot of live action shots of dishes and them being prepared. I would say this episode is okay, but by no means is a must watch, I found it enjoyable, nothing more, nothing less. The third episode is the most humorous of the bunch, and was a great time watching, I would recommend you check this one out, especially if you’re looking for something to have fun with. And last up, is the fourth episode which will likely be a hit or miss for each individual; while, I myself, did not really enjoy it all that much I can certainly see the appeal of it. I would not recommend it, but if you want a story about someone who doesn’t quite understand what they want from those around them, you might like this last episode. As I’ve said, this series is an interesting one to review because of how different each individual episode is, but it’s a series not too many know about, and I’m sure there are a ton of people who’d enjoy it, so I’d like to get it some more recognition; it’s an interesting and different series that’s certainly got some heart to it. Because of the nature of the series, I give it a:

? out of 10.

Initial Review: Pet Shop of Horrors

pet-shop-of-horrorsPet Shop of Horrors is a short and interesting series that discusses some very unique ideas, and is something I think you should at least check out. The 4 episode series is mostly episodic, and the quality of each individual episode varies greatly; the first 2 episodes are kind of okay or sort of meh, but the last 2 episodes are actually really good, and have some great content in them. I’ve never had a series that varies as wildly as this one in such a short time span, and it’s interesting to see how slight differences in presentation can affect a show’s overall appeal, and enjoyment factor. The first 2 episodes mostly just introduce the premise of the show, and while there are a few good parts, it mostly isn’t all that great. The latter 2 episodes however, discuss some really great topics and executes its discussion elegantly, especially the last episode, which I think is fantastic. The 3rd episode is an interesting take on the way in which fame works, and also shows a little budding romance that the show does a good job of making it seem real. Since the show is so short, it’s hard to talk about much without spoiling things, but what I can say, is that I would recommend watching it, and if you like a heartfelt story, making your way through the series shouldn’t disappoint you. The only problem with the series is that the first 2 episodes aren’t all that good, but if you can get through those, I think the series is rather satisfying. This is a series I would definitely recommend, especially since it is so short, but that doesn’t change the fact that the first half is just kind of okay. I give the series a:

7 out of 10.

 

Initial Review: The Boy and the Beast

the-boy-and-the-beastThe Boy and the Beast is a fun narrative that seems to know what it’s doing, and how to accomplish it; it also happens to be a good story with some memorable characters. The story centers around the interactions between a boy named Ren (or Kyuuta) and a beast named Kumatetsu. As it turns out, Kumatetsu is actually contending to be the Grandmaster (King) of his city but unfortunately for him, he’s not allowed to be as he has no disciples. As it would happen, Ren finds himself as being Kumatetsu’s first disciple. The story then proceeds to show how the two allow eachother to grow, and how they each need eachother to succeed. The film also some good messages about doing things for oneself, and also about understanding oneself. The film is almost never slow or boring, and tells a lot about the characters and their world in its 2 hour run time. The soundtrack is pretty good, and the animation is very, very pretty. The film even manages to weave in a small little romance plot that doesn’t seem to forced but instead is actually kind of sweet to see develop. The film wastes no time, and tells the story to its fullest. There are no stops, nor red lights, just go, and that definitely works to its advantage; there is never a dull moment. The film also shows the characters personalities, not by spelling it out to us, but instead by their actions and their words; it does a great job of showing what each character is like simply based on their behavior, and that is something I love. The story isn’t anything rivetingly inventive, but it does deliver on its strength. There wasn’t much that hasn’t been done before, but it’s so well crafted that it masks that fact pretty well. The film is wholly competent, and has some great moments, but doesn’t do anything spectacular. I give the film an:

8 out of 10.

Initial Review: Rec

recAs short of a show as Rec is, it certainly delivers on value. The premise of the show is fairly simple and straight forward and the romance plot is pretty normal as well, but they way the story presents itself is certainly something great. The series is so short, that it’s hard to describe things without spoiling the plot, but I will do my best; before I do though, I would like to say that I highly recommend you check it out, it has some great moments in it, and is overall, really well put together. The story revolves around the lives and happenings of its two main characters, Aka Onda, an upcoming voice actress, and Fumihiko Matsumaru a salary man who works for an advertising company. The story follows the two’s lives as their jobs intersect, and how the two progressing (or not progressing) their lines of work. The shows comedy is pretty good, and its serious moments are also quite well done. The show uses its short run-time to its advantage, and scenes never seem to take longer than they should, and also, you can blow through this whole thing in about 2 hours, so it’s a quick watch. The characters feel real, and alive in their world and the romance between the two is also fun to watch as it grows and develops. The show ends on a great note, that, while a season 2 would be nice, is satisfying on its own, and feels complete. The shows use of an adult main cast also helps the story feel refreshing in the see of highschool settings that are plentiful. Its a nice sweet story to watch and make you feel good. It shows how troubling a job can be, in the job itself, and managing a private life on the side as well. The show really puts a lot of energy and strength into its small package, and that’s something I like to see. It doesn’t skip a beat, and everything is just great to watch. The how tells a nice romance story with some work/life drama sprinkled in and also has some fun characters. I give the series an:

8 out of 10.

Initial Review: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

the-girl-who-leapt-through-timeIt’s been awhile since I’ve seen a film in which the whole purpose is to present some advice, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time definitely delivers on giving a strong and meaningful message. The plot of the story is fairly straight forward, a girl discovers that she can travel back in time, and she uses this to give herself an advantage. Time travel seems like a pretty dandy power on the onset, but the girl soon learns that with its uses, it is also a curse. Makoto Konno learns this the hard way, when things start going in directions she doesn’t like, and when she attempts to change them, the situation only seems to worsen. Her problems don’t seem to be going away, and instead, seem to be getting worse each time she goes back to try and solve it. Throughout this whole process, Makoto, has been running away from her problems the whole time, and it isn’t until after she confronts them head on, that she finally gets a satisfactory conclusion, which in the end, is still not all that happy. The film definitely has something to say about running away from your problems; if you continue to run away from them, they will only grow and intensify. The best choice you have, is to confront them, and that is the way for things to turn out as good as they can. The film also delivers on another portion; even if the outcome isn’t what you would like it to be, it is still better than the one you’ll get, if you never try to confront your inner demons. If you don’t face your problems, the outcome can only be worse. While the conclusion isn’t something Makoto, is happy with, it is something she can feel satisfied with, and somethings she knows she won’t regret. Makoto returns to the same problem that started the whole mess, and instead of running away form it, she accepts it, and makes the best of it. The film is wonderfully directed, and has a great soundtrack, especially the ending theme. The film capitalizes on the things it needs to capitalize on, and overall, is a very well put together piece. The movie definitely has a great message to give, and something I would recommend you check out. I award the film with an:

8 out of 10.

First Impressions: Rec

recAfter having watched 5 episodes of Rec, I can say that the series seems to be something fun and enjoyable to watch. The story seems to be going down the direction of two characters finding and understanding how to survive in the adult world, all while gradually becoming romantically involved with eachother. The “fitting into the adult world” thing is reminiscent of NANA, a show I think is fantastic, and so I’m a little excited for this little series. Unfortunately for me, this series is only 10 episodes long if you include the special, and each episode is only 13 minutes long. Luckily though, there is a manga that’s been completed so if I want to continue with the story, that option is available. The romance between the two characters is also nice to see as after episode one, it is very clear that the two like eachother, and they don’t seem to do much to hide that fact other than the fact that they say the two of them aren’t romantically involved; they don’t go out and say they don’t like eachother, and instead just say they aren’t close, and I like that. The two protagonists are likable and each seem to have their own goals in mind of what they want to see themselves in the future. So far, the series has been a fun watch and I encourage you to watch it as well.

Initial Review: Death Note

death-noteI have finally completed the most popular anime according to MyAnimeList, and while I can definitely see why it is so popular, Death Note, just doesn’t seem to be something super special. The concept of the show is fairly simple, teenage guy gets a magical book that can kill people and uses it to try and change the world. The focus of the series is on how the main character, Light Yagami, is able to avoid detection as his alter ego, Kira, the one claiming to be committing murder on several criminals everyday. The show has a very prevalent mystery aspect, but based on the  way the story presents itself (I’ll get into this later), the outcome is very easy to predict. While the thriller aspect still holds through, and moments of anticipation are prevalent throughout, the thrill aspect isn’t very high. Another problem is that Light Yagami (this may just be personal bias) is just not a very likable character, and so seeing him succeed is very uncomfortable and is a little off putting. And yes, while the point is to see him as a not so good person, the series makes little effort to frame him as a potentially good person. And here is where I get to the main problem of the story, how black and white it presents almost everything in it. There is very little gray in the series and I believe this is to its detriment. Light is presented almost as if he were a pure and true villain and is almost never shown as if he were a good person. The only times his framed in the light (haha) is when the show is trying to be symbolic of what Light is representing; that is something that I must give the series credit for though, it has some very well done symbolism and that isn’t something everything has. The character with the most gray in them, is Light’s main adversary, L, the super detective that is trying to discover Kira’s identity, and even he is generaly seen as a good guy. Almost every character is single faceted and that seemed very childish, there is very little gray. The only other character that didn’t seem to be so single faceted is Aizawa, and he is only a semi-major character. Misa Amane is just an infatuated girl with the intellect of a toaster, Matsuda, is a happy go lucky detective that sometimes knows what he’s doing, and Souichirou Yagami is the perfect law abiding citizen. All of these characters are exactly as I named them, and almost never stray from those descriptions, and the series makes no attempt to present them as anything else, and that’s sad considering they’re pretty relevant for most of the series. It is from this fact that the outcome, and inevitable conclusion can be predicted from almost the beginning of the series; based on the way the series presents its characters, there can only be one possible outcome, and for a thriller mystery series, predictability is not something you want. This doesn’t even mention the complete face-lift the series have after its second cour, where everything starts to go completely off the rails, and believablility starts to drop at an alarming rate. New characters are introduced left and right, and the pacing of the series goes into overdrive; the entire part thereafter is just radically different in the way it feels, it’s almost like it’s a different show. The problems of the series are very prevalent, but that’s not to say the show isn’t entertaining. While the show is incredibly black and white and obvious, it is still an enjoyable ride through. The conclusion, while predictable, was still satisfying to watch. The interactions between the characters is pretty great, and aside from some cringe worthy dialogue between some cookie cutter archetypes, the conversations are very interesting to listen to. The series also has a fantastic soundtrack the is great to listen to. While this review has been mostly negative, I would like to say that I enjoyed the series through to the end. While I do feel like it was a bumpy, and at times nauseous, ride the show kept me entertained the whole way through. There were no parts that were boring and it was very enjoyable to watch the plot progress the way it did. The series doesn’t try to ask some philosophical question, but instead shows a game between two incredibly skilled players and asks us to watch it in awe of how amazing each of the players is. The show isn’t about what is right and what is wrong, but instead about a battle of wits between some very intelligent characters; the show is much like a good ol’ fashion game of sports ball. If you want to see some competition, you came to the right place. As such, I give the series a score of a:

7 out of 10.

Initial Review: Clannad

clannadIt took me a long time to get through  Clannad, and unfortunately, it’s not because I didn’t have the time to watch it. For me, the series was very painful to get through, and while the show did improve throughout the run, it certainly didn’t redeem itself. First, I would like to say that the series didn’t go down the path I most feared: keeping each character strictly in the lines of an archetype. The series did flesh out most of its characters to a degree that I found acceptable, and so at least my worst fears were averted. That said, I still must acknowledge the fact that the first 12 to 14 episodes were incredibly painful to watch. I found them to be incredibly boring and in the end, I feel that most of it could have been cut out. That is not good for this series because that number of episodes is about half the length of the entire series, and if I can say I’d be okay of half of it were cut out, that isn’t a good thing. I feel that if they made this series 1 cour, and cut out most of the things from the first half, I would have liked the series a lot more. That first half was unbelievably slow, and getting through it was a challenge. That said, I now get to talk about the latter half of the series, which, in my opinion, was actually watchable. The pace quickens drastically, and it actually feels like things are getting done. Relationships are developing, and important character interactions are at an all time high. The series sets up it dramatic moments with decent efficiency, and the drama that takes place feels a lot more reasonable and well thought out than that of the first half. I would say that I actually enjoyed the 2nd half of the series; it didn’t bore me to tears. I would now like to talk about another thing that bothered me: the fact that the series strongest points of drama and potential character growth and change (in my opinion), was almost completely tossed aside and forgotten for the entire series. This sub plot would be the relationship between our main character, Tomoya Okazaki, and his father. Their relationship is only shown, and not talked about other than a few pieces of information, but nothing all the well put together. Maybe it’s explained in the sequel, but I sure hope I at least get something to chew on from that little story. The characters themselves, while a bit annoying at times, weren’t completely outrageous, and cringe worthy (although I will say that Sunohara was incredibly painful to watch almost every time he was on screen). After having seen the whole series, I can say that this style of show may not be suitable for my taste, and that might be why I didn’t enjoy it as much as most people do. I found almost the entire first half of the series to be completely boring, and the enjoyment I got from the 2nd half did little to increase my opinion on the series. The one saving grace of the series was the short special, I watched afterwards, which I actually thought was pretty decent, and better than the entire series combined, maybe I’ll do a short review of that at some point, let me know in the comments. I do consider that its own separate thing though because its an alternate reality, and so it won’t play a part in my rating for the series. The first half was a trip through misery, and while I did enjoy that second half, it wasn’t anything spectacular in my eyes. I wasn’t blown away by this series, but I also do think it has its merits. It certainly isn’t  bad in the sense that some others are. I would say that in the end, while I wasn’t super thrilled after finishing it, I can look back and say that I’m glad I watched it (but I have no desire to watch it again). After all of that, I feel like this series deserves the score of a:

6 out of 10.

Initial Review: Paprika

paprikaIt doesn’t happen often, but there are a few cases in which I find something I enjoy greatly, but can’t seem to figure out why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Paprika, is another one of those things. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why I liked it so much, but what I can say, is that I enjoyed it immensely. The story centers around a girl who dives into other people’s dreams. The problem is that someones else has stolen the technology that allows her to do this, and is interfering with the dreams of other people because anyone with the technology has access to everyone else’s dreams. The story follows her crusade against this unknown enemy and the obstacles she encounters. The animation was really well done, and the soundtrack is incredibly catchy. I would highly recommend you check it out; it is a very interesting film that, if it doesn’t lose you, will entertain you greatly. I give this film a:

9 out of 10.