Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974)

Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review……………………………………………………..

Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review

Heidi, Girl of the Alps is a 1974 anime series directed by legendary Isao Takahata. It is a very good, wonderful adaptation of the classic book.

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“Is it all right with you that you’ll never be able to walk?!”

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Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review……………………………………………………..

Because I loved the book, I naturally enjoyed this show a lot. It has its differences, but most of the book was faithfully adapted which I immensely appreciated. To me the anime is so good that it is almost of the same quality of its literary predecessor which just goes to show how great a director Isao Takahata is and certainly one of my favorites when it comes to anime.

I will now talk about each and every character in-depth and thus I will also comment on the storyline as a whole through those characters. Heidi is as great as she was in the book. Her look got me some time to get used to, but I liked her personality and I admired that she was more flawed than she was in the novel. Clara is also very good and the relationship between the two is expectedly touching and wonderful to witness.

As for Peter, I was so disappointed that they excluded his terrible treatment of Clara and how he threw her wheelchair. That was one of the highlights of the novel as it made him more human and relatable. But even though they got rid of that point, he is still pretty good and memorable here and I loved his interactions with the two girls.

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Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review……………………………………………………..

The grandfather is also very good and faithfully imagined, but I wished to have seen more of his spiritual rediscovery as seen in the original. Miss Rottenmeier is excellent and one of the rare characters that is actually improved here as she is less theatrical and more realistic and I loved that. The voice acting is pretty good and mostly very professional.

The animation is excellent for its time period. I loved its pleasing colors and I especially adored some of its imagery. It wonderfully recreated the mountain scenery as the Alps are wonderful here. And I liked the use of the animals too. Frankfurt was also very well depicted.

The soundtrack is one of the show’s greatest accomplishments. The sound effects and the score are great, but the closing theme is pretty good and of course the opening theme is just amazing. It is so immensely catchy, perfectly fitting in tone to its country origin and filled with wonderful imagery. That whole opening was one of the standouts of the anime.

Heidi, Girl of the Alps has a pretty solid structure in that most of the episodes work as standalone stories, but they still are coherent and lead to an overall firm storyline. I liked that and even though that meant that some episodes were less interesting than the others, that was expected for a series with the high amount of 52 episodes. But they covered most of the storylines and subplots of the book and I was eventually pleased by it. The anime is emotional, wonderfully childlike, always endearing and sometimes even pleasantly humorous.

In the end, Heidi, Girl of the Alps has its problems, but it is overall a stupendous anime series that is one of the best from the seventies without a doubt. It is also one of the best children’s anime with wonderful characters, a faithfully adapted plot, charming animation and such a good score with a catchy and fun opening theme.

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Worst Episodes: One More in the Family, I Want to Fly and Clara Walks.

Best Episodes: To the Mountain, A Visit to Grandmother’s House, Another Grandmother, In a New House, The Doctor’s Promise and Until We Meet Again.

My Rating – 4.5

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Parasyte (2014)

Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

Parasyte Movie Review

Parasyte is a 2014 science fiction horror anime series directed by Kenichi Shimuzu. It is one of the best anime shows I’ve seen recently.

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Actually, you shouldn’t even think that you’ve figured

out another species based on your standards.

I think it’s human arrogance to think we understand how other life forms feel

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

It follows Shinichi Izumi who one day gets a parasitic creature inside his right hand. But because it didn’t reach the brain, both are alive and start a symbiotic relationship along with fighting other parasites in the city. Now, the show is both derivative and original at the same time. It is familiar as we’ve seen sci-fi horror movies like this where the creature looks like a human and is parasitic and actually disgusting etc. ‘The Thing’ is basically all of that.

However, the anime is authentic for going much further than most movies of this type as it introduces a conflict between the two species as well as some very intriguing action. What I loved about its story is not only the huge entertainment factor to it, but also its brain. It is a very smart and sometimes even thought-provoking series as it explores humanity or “humanity” and how humans are actually pretty selfish and only look for themselves and are putting every other Earth’s species on risk.

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

That is something that I adored about it. It at first showed parasites as these cold-blooded murders and humans as being great, but eventually started taking a more gray approach to both species and the relationship between them. How it ended was amazing and particularly its last couple of episodes were incredibly clever. Some of the middle parts were lacking and the big problem here is the pacing. Those parts were slower and not much happened in them. But the fist third is so riveting to watch and so exciting and entertaining that it puts many other anime to shame. And, as I said, it ended remarkably well.

Shinichi Izumi has some character choices and developments that are typical for this medium, but is mostly a very good, pretty realistic hero. Migi is fantastic and I just loved the relationship between the two. Who would have thought that you would care so much about a friendly relationship between a human and his parasite? That whole premise sounds so silly, but the execution is so good that it surprisingly worked. And their farewell sequence was pretty sad to be perfectly honest.

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

Satomi Murano is a solid love interest and how they finished their arc I found fantastic. Kana is also pretty good and such a tragic character. Uragami is very memorable as a dangerous serial killer, Mamoru Uda is very realistic and likable as Shinichi’s companion with the same problem, Reiko Tamura is so fantastic and how they concluded her story was incredibly emotional and powerful and Gotou is of course pretty terrific as the show’s biggest baddie.

I loved Parasyte on technical grounds too. Its pacing is problematic, but the voice acting is great, the character development is terrific, the emotional investment is pretty strong and the anime has a very serious, dark tone which I loved. It has excellent world building and terrific attention to detail. It explains us everything we need to know about these creatures, but smartly leaving out some details for us to think about on our own.

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

It totally succeeds as a horror series. It isn’t as scary or as gross in its later episodes, but in its beginning, it was surprisingly intense, dark, creepy and sometimes delightfully disgusting without going too far. But it succeeds as a science fiction tale even more so than a horror one again owing to that thematically rich storyline. The action is also exceptionally well choreographed and executed and always being exciting and very fun to watch with particularly high stakes. I’ve always felt danger which was necessary for it to work. The dialogue is sometimes too on-the-nose, but is mostly satisfying and sometimes pretty clever. And I liked its realism a lot as it was for the most part grounded in reality.

In the end, even though its middle parts weren’t that great and the pacing is off, Parasyte is one of my favorite anime series so far as it is such a terrific sci-fi horror tale that is thematically rich and even emotional. It has a lot to say about the human race, but without sacrificing its action which is always exciting and its characters which are incredibly well realized.  Such a great anime.

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Worst Episodes: The Blue Bird, Hello Sadness and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Best Episodes:  Metamorphosis, Devil in the Flesh, Feast, Quiscence and Awakening and Parasyte.

My Rating – 4.4

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Ronia the Robber’s Daughter (2014)

Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Ronia the Robber’s Daughter Movie Review

Ronia the Robber’s Daughter is a 2014 anime series directed by Goro Miyazaki. It is such a pleasantly childlike show that I liked quite a bit.

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Life is something you have to take care of – don’t you realize that?

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Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

It is based on the titular novel written by Astrid Lindgren. It is about a girl who befriends a boy from a different clan and the adventures the two have in the forest and how eventually the two clans learn to co-exist. Obviously it is about a girl growing up but, as Miyazaki said himself, it is also about the bond between a parent and child as well as friendship.

Now obviously this is a children’s show and I for one really liked that about it. There aren’t a lot of anime shows that are made for children which is why this one is so refreshing. Its quality is also evident from the beginning. It isn’t really deep and is overly simplistic and familiar in its plot points, but it is certainly moving and sweet at times and I just loved its adventurous spirit.

The characters are really well developed and all are very likable. Ronia is quite good and I loved her relationship with Birk. The two were wonderful together. Lovis is a bit one-note and Mattis is goofy, but wonderful and a complex character. All of the others are solid,  but not individually and rather as a team they shine and work well together. The voice acting is pretty good as well.

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Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

I loved its mythical and fantastical elements. Gray Dwarfs were so funny and amusing while Harpies, on the other hand, were very creepy and served well as the series’ major and sole villains. Even though I really liked the familial drama here, I actually found its adventure elements much better and more entertaining, at least they were to me. Whenever they were in the forest, I was bound to have a joyous time.

Speaking of the forest, I simply adored it. The animation here is so strong and absolutely fantastic to behold. I just marveled at its sheer polished strength and it was admirable to see such strong work on a TV show no less. The forest is lovely, the creatures have good designs and some of the scenery was mesmerizing to behold. I also really liked the castle and that we got to explore its many sides.

But there is one flaw in the animation and that is the character design. It is odd watching the show have awesome natural animation and yet have such terrible looking human beings. The animation overall is 2D and traditional, but the characters are 3D and CGI. Needless to say, it was distracting and they looked cheap whereas the scenery looked professional.

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Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Another problem in Ronia is the pacing as it’s quite slow at times. The show could also become typical and rather repetitive in certain episodes and even though the conclusion was great, I would have gone with less of those over-the-top fights near the end. Ronia definitely has too much goofiness and typical anime trappings in it, but other than that, the humor is actually quite sweet and solid. It can also be quite dark and serious at times while also being poignant in some episodes.

Adventurous and spirited yet also filled with good familial and poignant drama, Ronia has all of the hallmarks of a good children’s show and even though it can be quite goofy at times with not that great pacing and pretty awful character design, the natural animation was just beautiful to behold and the characters were both likable and well developed. Such a good, charming Studio Ghibli offering and I hope they will make more TV shows in the future.

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Worst Episodes: Fall Descends on the Forest, A Thing Done in Secret, Our Summer and One Strong Band of Robbers.

Best Episodes: The Forest, Stars and Dwarfs, Song in the Fog, A Whistle in the Basement, The Endless Dispute (Part 1) and The Shout of Spring.

My Rating – 4.1

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Angel Beats! (2010)

Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

Angel Beats! Review

Angel Beats! is a 2010 fantasy action anime series directed by Seiji Kishi. It is one of the most disappointing anime shows I’ve seen thus far.

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Let me tell you something.

Humans don’t even have the patience to wait even ten minutes for something!

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Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

It focuses on a boy who dies and he doesn’t remember his previous life in the afterlife and enrolls in the afterlife school and joins the organization that fights against the student council president, a girl with supernatural powers. The genre diversity of the show is its two-edged sword. On the one hand, it is original and sometimes even quite inventive. On the other hand, it creates a jarring shift in tone and it doesn’t balance its different tones and plot points well at all. It is basically a mix between fantasy, action, comedy, drama and even musical. But the problem is that it only succeeds as an action show because the fights are really well executed and as a comedy because some episodes were really funny. But it fails in other areas unfortunately.

The characters are all really underutilized which is a shame as they are actually quite solid on surface. Of course Tenshi is one of the highlights, the protagonist is pretty good himself and the standout has to be Yurippe who is such a highly capable, tough and yet human and really well developed female character. The voice acting is pretty good as well.

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Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

The animation in Angel Beats! isn’t the most memorable, but it is pretty polished and memorable in its surroundings. The world building is actually pretty commendable. But the use of the weapons is so inventive and the sound effects as well as the special effects are some of the highlights here.

But unfortunately, I just never was invested in this anime, rarely actually. The highlight was that action packed episode where they attacked Tenshi and had to go through her traps in order to get to her. That was not only extremely entertaining, but also funny and quite adventurous to be honest. But most of the other episodes are lacking and the ending itself never moved me. I got that it was supposed to be very emotional and even heartbreaking, but because I didn’t connect with the characters and because it felt jarring in tone and way too abrupt, it left me feeling cold. The entire show is very abrupt and packed with too many characters and different plot points. Something different is always happening here and unfortunately not a lot of it is effective or memorable.

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Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

In the end, Angel Beats! disappointed me a lot. I respected its world building, some of the humor, the originality and the diversity of genres, somewhat strong characters and some impressive action scenes, but it is tonally a very uneven anime with jarring shifts in tone, overly emotional but not actually moving finale, rushed pacing and it was just rarely genuinely involving or exciting to watch. It succeeds as an action comedy, but not so much as a fantasy musical and it was overall immensely disappointing.

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Worst Episodes: Change the World and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

Best Episodes: Guild and My Song.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Anthem of the Heart (2015)

The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review

The Anthem of the Heart is a 2015 anime drama film directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai. It is a disappointing movie.

It follows the girl who is a chatterbox and her parents get divorced because of her. As a punishment, her mouth is sealed and she eventually manages to speak her mind through singing. The premise is solid and it provides some great emotional moments. Yes, the ending is sweet and triumphant and overall the film had some pretty strong drama in it, both family and teen.

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Dont tell people to disappear like it’s nothing!

Words can hurt people!

You can’t ever take them back.

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The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

The animation in particular is the highlight as it is so beautiful to watch and polished. Both the scenery of the city as well as the designs of the characters are great and everything looks really professional and pleasant.

The score is also really well incorporated and some songs are quite solid. Having in mind that the score is essential for its narrative, they thankfully managed to make some solid use of it with a couple of great musical moments.

So why is The Anthem of the Heart then so disappointing? Well, mostly because it is overly emotional and too long. The film went into overly maudlin territory from time to time and I don’t know if that’s earned as I just wasn’t that invested in its characters or its plot for it to work fully. The characters are solid, but far from great and the same can be said about the plot.

But an even bigger problem if the film’s annoying emphasis on love triangles and relationship dramas. The film would should have focused on just one thing and that should have been the protagonist and her problem with speaking, that would have been great. But this way, it becomes overlong, convoluted and it lost focus more than a couple of times.

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The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

And I’ve had a big problem with the premise itself. Somehow I was under the impression that the movie favored loveless marriage and cheating over divorce and I just could not shake that feeling. I liked that the fantasy element proved to be just in her head and not real in the end, but I still found her suffering to be overly excessive and not that needed as she never did anything truly horrible. That is my major gripe with the movie and why I found it solid, but disappointing. And even more disappointing given the fact that it was done by the creators of ‘Anohana’ which is one of my favorite shows.

The Anthem of the Heart has some resonant scenes, an interesting story and terrific animation, but it is disappointing for its overlong and unfocused narrative, sometimes excessive emotion and a couple of problematic elements in the script and its logic.

My Rating – 3.5

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Clannad (2007)

Clannad Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Clannad  Review

Clannad is a 2007 drama anime show directed by Tatsuya Ishihara. It is the most disappointing anime I’ve seen so far.

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Clannad Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Everyday people keep hurting each other.

It’s no wonder why you doubt what other people in the world tell you.

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The story follows the life of Tomoya Okazaki, a high school delinquent who meets many people during his last year of school and helps them resolve their individual problems. Now this is famous for being one of the most heartbreaking anime shows and because I didn’t connect with the characters, I naturally didn’t feel anything myself. Both the characters and the story left me cold.

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Clannad Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The premise is excellent, but the execution of said premise is very weak. Instead of being a drama, Clannad is too lightweight and sometimes verging too much into comedy territory. It was just your typical silly anime that is sometimes way too tween-like in its approach.

Now of course the characters are okay, some of them are actually quote solid as the characterization is pretty good here. However, the overwhelming presence of moe really annoyed me and that is the major reason why I disliked the series. The girls looked too cute, too young and too silly. Not to mention that their hair color is almost exclusively blue which was definitely ridiculous despite the fact that it fits well into the whole Japanese idea of hair colors being defining personality traits, in this example blue means hidden talents as is the case for all of these girls. But that whole concept is silly and here it was more silly than usual.

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Clannad Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The voice acting is good and the main character is solid. Some of the girls are also pretty sweet, but most are too similar to each other and way too moe to my taste. But I really liked the main comic relief here as it was hilarious watching him get beaten up constantly by a girl.

Speaking of hilarity, Clannad is much more a comedy than a drama. However, it is rarely really funny with just a couple of scenes being funny and most of the characters and the dialogue were trying too hard. The drama here is solid and it may be relatable to some, but to me it wasn’t and I found it to be a typical high school drama for teenagers. In the end, I was thoroughly disappointed in Clannad and it is the anime show that is the most overrated of those I’ve seen thus far. It has its moments and the first half is solid, but the second half is weaker and the entire series is dull, uninvolving with the most unfortunate comedic and silly tone to it thus successfully rendering its emotion ineffective and its true drama mild and not as relatable as it could have been had it had a different, more serious approach to it. It is the definition of lost potential as it is disappointing on the all grounds you could think of.

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Worst Episodes: Stuck Problem, 3 on 3 and A Room Without Anyone.

Best Episodes: Once Again After Crying, The Girl Genius’ Challenge and The After School Rhapsody.

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My Rating – 3.2

 

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No Game No Life (2014)

No Game No Life Review…………………………………………………………..

No Game No Life Review

No Game No Life is a 2014 fantasy comedy anime series directed by Atsuko Ishizuka. It is the kind of a series that gives anime a bad name.

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This world is just… a crappy game

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No Game No Life Review…………………………………………………………..

Yes, I really didn’t like this show. Well, I didn’t hate it either as I found many legitimately good things in it and it was a passable diversion, but I still found it to be very problematic for the majority of its run. It follows two siblings who are gamers who get summoned to a reality which revolves totally around video games. There, they plan to conquer the sixteen ruling species and to usurp the god of games.

The plot itself isn’t particularly original, but is still solid and entertaining. It had great potential, but unfortunately it was all wasted on a very mediocre approach to it. This series is defined by its sexual nature. In fact, it is so sexual and so graphic that I wondered many times whether they went too far and almost in a pornographic territory.

Let’s just say that I was quite surprised and even gasped at some of the scenes here. The series is much more a comedy than it is a fantasy and although it does have its very interesting fantasy elements, the comedy stuff is much more emphasized. And the humor is, well, okay I guess. It is tough to say, but I did genuinely laugh a couple of times, but more often than not, I laughed at its craziness and I don’t know if that was what the series drove for.

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No Game No Life Review…………………………………………………………..

Sora is a very misogynistic character and too much of a sexual predator. In fact, he was quite unlikable for the majority of the time here. Shiro is quite silly and to me odd and underutilized. The relationship between the two was very odd and containing somewhat disturbing connotations. But what I liked about them is that they felt like antiheros as they genuinely enjoyed beating up their opponents and that was weirdly diabolical and funny.

Stephanie Dola is the reason why No Game No Life is a very sexist anime. She is such an eye candy, overly sexualized and just there for the male audience to look at. She is at least half naked for the large part and that was ridiculous. And the fact that the two basically humiliated her episode after episode didn’t help matters either. Jibril is a much better, although forgettable character.

No Game No Life benefits from some interesting visuals. Sure, its animation can be difficult to get used to and its garish style with overly saturated colors can be a nuisance for some, but I admired its authentic nature as rarely have I seen similar looking animation. That visual style is undoubtedly the most original thing about this anime.

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No Game No Life Review…………………………………………………………..

The voice acting is fine, some of the imagery is quite intriguing and it is solidly paced, but I really found the overall storyline disappointing as it could have been approached differently and it could have been much more epic and dramatic, not to mention fun. The second half of the series in particular took a major step back in terms of quality and entertainment. Overall, I did find it somewhat humorous in its ridiculousness, but it was too crazy, sexual and slight to be enjoyed more.

No Game No Life is fun, sometimes funny and it has interesting visual style to it, but the sexual aspect is just ridiculously overplayed to the point of being too extreme, the series is way too silly in its tone and the overall plot was quite disappointing and didn’t utilize its premise properly. It is a passable diversion, but way too ridiculous, sexist and troublesome.

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Worst Episodes: Interesting and Fake End.

Best Episodes: Beginner and Weak Square.

My Rating – 3.1

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Another (2012)

Another Review………………………………………………………………….

Another Review

Another is a 2012 mystery horror anime series directed by Tsutomu Mizushima. It is a show that is mostly pretty atmospheric and satisfying.

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There are two types of pain in this world.

One that hurts you and one that changes you

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Another Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

The show is about Koichi Sakakibara who transfers to a new school and finds himself in a mystery revolving around students and people related to his class falling victim to gruesome deaths. The premise itself isn’t the most original, but it is still at times pretty authentic with some plot points and how detailed it becomes. The meticulous approach here is definitely great.

I said before the show is mostly good because it isn’t always great. What am I talking about? Well, let’s just say that the anime ends up becoming a typical clichéd gore fest so expected of horror fare. In its last two episodes the entire affair becomes one giant bloodshed which I really didn’t like and although some plot points were satisfying and I liked the twist and the overall conclusion, the action itself was way too typical and over-the-top for me to enjoy it more.

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Another Review………………………………………………………………….

But everything that came before those last two episodes and a couple of episodes before those last two was mostly great with the first couple of episodes being very intriguing and some of the middle ones being even fascinating and poignant. I loved that Another is not just a horror, but also a great mystery and in some ways, it succeeds more in that genre than in horror.

How it all concluded was fine, albeit not great. However, the first half of the show is so pleasantly mysterious and its mystery is so well handled there and how it reveals itself was pretty well crafted and, as I said, meticulous in detail.

The atmosphere is absolutely phenomenal. The first half is so wonderfully atmospheric and sometimes even genuinely creepy with awesome score and sound effects and some terrific imagery with dolls and birds of prey being the best themes. The animation itself is terrific as well, so polished with good looking buildings and scenery and a good style to it.

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Another Review………………………………………………………………….

But I just wish that the show remained on that creepy, atmospheric path instead of going to full gore territory, that was so annoying and immensely disappointing. As for the characters, Sakakibara was frankly a very forgettable protagonist, but others were much better. Mei Misaki is a great companion with a very mysterious quality to her. And all of the class members weren’t the best developed and didn’t get enough screen time individually, but they are still solid for this genre and they worked great as a team.

Another is well directed and well edited, it looks great and it mostly succeeds in both genres. I liked the dialogue albeit it should have been better and more memorable. The mythology here is pretty good and its attention to detail is definitely its strongest suit, but I just wish that it knew what to do with all of this overabundant detail and not just throw it away for gory action and violence near the end. It is a show that I mostly liked, especially its great first half, but it still left me feeling quite disappointing and wanting for much more.

Another is a disappointing horror anime because of its overly gory and typical bloodshed final two episodes, but it is nevertheless great in its first half, very atmospheric, sometimes very creepy and succeeding as a very solid mystery flick with solid characters, a great eye for detail and a terrific mythology and mystery to it.

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Worst Episodes: Stand by Oneself and The Other.

Best Episodes: Build Limbs and Hair Stand.

My Rating – 3.9

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Anohana (2011)

Anohana Review………………………………………………………

Anohana Review

Anohana is a 2011 drama anime series directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai. It is one of the best anime shows I’ve seen, so admirable and incredibly emotional.

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Thanks for everything today.

Tomorrow I’ll go to heaven.

Please be my friends until the end

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Anohana Review………………………………………………………

It follows a group of six teenagers who were once friends, but drifted apart after the death of one of the girls Menma. But when Menma comes back in form of the spirit, the group has to reunite and solve their emotional issues in order for Menma to be able to move on and rest in peace. The premise here is not only highly original, but quite frankly brilliant. And the execution is almost perfect leading to a fantastic series.

I absolutely loved that Anohana (or Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day in its full name) is a pure drama, emotional and definitely a tragedy. But it also has strong romantic elements and its sole supernatural element present in Menma’s spirit is so well incorporated into the whole story that it’s almost seamless.

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Anohana Review………………………………………………………

It is the only series that has made me cry! It is the only time that I’ve cried in quite a long time, almost two years. That is how powerful and heartbreaking it truly is. I cried once during an earlier episode and of course I shed tears during that finale. The final episode is one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen, of any show. I was blown away by its quality and how everything came together into a satisfying conclusion. The whole 10 episodes of emotional issues culminated in one emotionally devastating finale, I was left speechless and seriously touched.

I will later talk about Anohana’s each theme, but now let’s talk about its characters. The character development drives this anime and that’s so great given how a drama, especially a drama like this one, needs to have strong, fully realized characters in order to work. And yes, everybody here seems like a real person and serves the purpose, even those supporting, minor characters.

Menma’s parents are tragic figures, but her brother is even more tragic as he’s basically neglected by his parents. I really liked Jintan’s father even though I found him to be too loose in his parenting style. And those are the only supporting characters I can think of as the show basically only relies on these six and I liked that a lot as it led to their better development.

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Anohana Review………………………………………………………

Jintan is such a strong main character. His arc is probably the most satisfying one as he has to change the most. He at first doesn’t do anything, skips school and plays video games all the time. Much of that is due to the tragedy with Menma. But once she arrives, he starts to change for the better and ends up with a job. I liked that he wasn’t perfect despite being a leader of the group. He is quite selfish at times and his struggle with that is so well explored.

Menma is wonderful. She did feel too one-note at first, but I came to really sympathize with her childlike behavior and that was fitting given how she had never had the chance to grow up. Her story is as tragic as they can be, but her positive attitude and evident innocence perfectly contrasted with the rest of the group as the rest aren’t children anymore. Her relationship with Jintan is heartwarming and her wanting to help everyone is so sweet and moving.

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Anohana Review………………………………………………………

Anaru is one of my favorites. I just found her to be really relatable and very realistic too. She has always been in love with Jintan, but was always in the shadow of Menma and her hating Menma and her struggle with that feeling led to many powerful emotional moments. Her interactions with each and every one of them is so great and she just might be the finest character of the bunch.

Yukiatsu is very interesting. I have to be honest and say that he really got on my nerves as he was quite a bully at times, but people like him exist and his cold behavior is obviously a mask for hiding his deeper feelings. Him being in love with Menma provided some of the most shocking moments of the series, but I’ll talk more about that later.

Tsuruko is also quite strong, if not as well utilized as the rest. Her relationship with Yukiatsu is moving and troublesome and again I liked her bitter attitude toward both Menma and Anaru. It did seem unfortunate that the girls didn’t get along well, but neither did the guys and that is pretty much as it happens in real life.

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Anohana Review………………………………………………………

Poppo is definitely sort of a sidekick character as he is the only one here who isn’t deeply troubled (at least at first) and he is the only who retained his childlike nature and humor. I really admired his good-hearted and somewhat weird nature and the revelation that he saw Menma’s death was upsetting and tragic.

Anohana is such a thematically rich anime that I just admired the hell out of it. This is the best example of anime’s willingness to go into very dark, sophisticated and mature territory, something that American movies in general, not just animated, tend to usually ignore. Yes, it did bother me a bit that all of them were intertwined and infatuated with one another. Yukiatsu is in love with Menma as is Jintan, but Anaru is in love with Jintan and Tsuruko is in love with Yukiatsu. That was too much in my opinion, but it is a testament to this show’s strength that even those more soapy elements were mostly excellent as they were so well executed.

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Anohana Review………………………………………………………

Yukiatsu’s obsession with Menma is probably the darkest one here. He is a cross-dresser and that was just so brave on the part of the filmmakers and I liked how it was properly handled. He dresses in female clothes, a white dress, owing to his obsession with Menma. Having him being this troubled was a dark and ultimately satisfying choice as it was really well utilized.

But of course you also have Jintan and his choice to not go to school and lead a lazy, uneventful life. That was also relatable and powerful, especially to me as I share that problem too. Watching Menma’s parents was just devastating. Her death left them in constant despair and they never could have normal lives afterwards. Death of a loved one, especially your own child, is of course the worst, but I admired how the show tackled the other child syndrome. The parents sidelined him and although that is somewhat understandable, it is still terrible for that child and all of his sequences here emphasized that. Such a tragic character. I also loved the theme of jealousy and its dangers, mostly expressed in the female characters. Truly all of these themes were fascinating, brave and so well explored.

Anohana’s animation is exceptional. The clothing was excellent, the character design is satisfying and all of the characters are really well animated. The backgrounds are also nice and the film’s more surreal and supernatural sequences are perfectly animated. The score is just awesome! I loved its opening number and that it was repeated a lot during some episodes and especially in its ending, leading to an even more emotional episode. The voice acting is just amazing. The series is so well edited and directed, it is emotional but never pathetic. It is realistic and the dialogue is exceptionally strong. I loved it and I was deeply impacted by it.

Anohana is a brilliant anime. It is perfectly made and oh so emotional and just devastating at times. It is thematically rich and brave in its perfectly explored themes and issues, the characters are phenomenal and so well developed, the drama is poignant and the series is just so tragic that it made me cry and it left me in a really heartbroken state. It is undoubtedly one of the best anime series I’ve ever seen.

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Worst Episodes: Menma the Hero and The Real Wish.

Best Episodes: I Wonder and The Flower Blooming on That Summer.

My Rating – 4.7

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One-Punch Man (2015)

One-Punch Man Review…………………………………………………………………….

One-Punch Man Review

One-Punch Man is a 2015 superhero comedy anime show directed by Shingo Natsume. It is such a hilarious, really entertaining anime.

Saitama is the strongest hero on Earth and easily defeats any monster with one single punch. However, he is bored by his immense strength as he never finds any opponent worthy of his time. I loved this plot as it was very interesting watching a superhero story parodied this extensively. It provides a suitable comedic approach to what would otherwise be a somewhat basic storyline.

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Human beings are strong because we have the ability to change ourselves

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One-Punch Man Review…………………………………………………………………….

But the show isn’t just funny, it is also thematically very interesting. In Saitama, we get such an interesting protagonist and he truly is a one of a kind character. In fact, he is so great that he should in my opinion easily get in the conversation of entering the lists of the best main characters in the history of anime. He is immensely likable and approachable, but also extremely funny and him getting annoyed at the exposition and chatting of the villains was probably the funniest running gag of the series.

But as I said, those themes are great. It was fascinating watching a hero who is for once too strong for even a decent fight and truly the fights all lasted for mere seconds with the exception of the last one which was somewhat long. I loved his bored expressions. It was also great having a hero who isn’t valued enough and that conflict was the strongest in this anime. The Hero Association was to me very interesting and probably the most intriguing aspect of the show, but it does also showcase people’s tendency of categorizing each and every thing and person and how that system can be inherently flawed.

As for the other characters, Genos is of course a great companion to Saitama and the two are such a great duo and their dynamic was infectious. The monsters were very interestingly designed and though crazy, I liked how they looked and most of them were pretty original. Of the heroes, Tornado was funny, Atomic Samurai and Child Emperor were pretty forgettable and typical and Puri-Puri-Prisoner is a somewhat stereotypical and too silly gay character, but that wasn’t a big problem to me given how the entire anime is silly almost entirely. The aliens looked interesting and had some very intriguing qualities to them and I really liked the main villain and that fight was the only extensive one here and I liked it quite a bit and found it to be a great conclusion to the first season.

One-Punch Man is wonderfully animated and it never has overly saturated colors which the majority of today’s anime suffers from. Its look was polished and the movements were well realized. The character designs were the strongest thing about it as everybody looked great and some were quite authentic indeed. The anime mostly looked top-notch.

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One-Punch Man Review…………………………………………………………………….

The action is solid, but I still had a problem with it. To me, that was the only somewhat problematic aspect here. I didn’t mind the lack of fights and how short they were as that was an original and admirable choice, but I did mind the execution of the action which was sometimes quite poor. It was at times too fast and the camera movements weren’t the strongest, cutting all the time and not allowing you to witness it properly.

But the humor is easily the best reason to watch One-Punch Man. Wow, how funny this anime is. I laughed countless times and it was consistently funny from the first to the last episode. Every superhero trope is perfectly reconstructed and made fun of which is why this succeeds at being an awesome superhero parody. Saitama is hilarious, but most of the other characters were also very funny. I loved how they made fun of endless talking before fights and the show made fun of these types of anime particularly strongly. Its humor and its energy combine to give it such a huge entertainment boost.

I also really liked the music here. I adore the opening number, I just love it! It is immensely catchy with good lyrics and it’s such a great tune that I listened to infinitely by now. The dialogue was also strong and it has a pretty well crafted, smart script with many good subplots. However, the pacing was pretty off at times and I really didn’t like the middle part as much as I liked the first and last couple of episodes. That’s because the show struggled whenever it focused on other characters as Saitama is such a strong presence and he was sorely missed whenever he wasn’t on screen. But it’s also because some of the other characters were a bit boring to be frank and almost needless. But that is one flaw I’ve found in an otherwise great anime.

One-Punch Man is an awesome mix of superheroics and comedy with many laugh out loud moments, such a strong script and it has an excellent and very memorable and likable protagonist in Saitama. It is a consistently funny and entertaining anime that also has an interesting plot and very good animation and is just a blast to watch.

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Worst Episodes: The Strongest Man and The Deep Sea King.

Best Episodes: The Ultimate Disciple and The Dominator of the Universe.

My Rating – 4.3

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