Tag Archives: Some Thoughts on Anime

Some Thoughts On: Hinamatsuri (2018)

Here’s an anime I didn’t intend to watch, but I did read a blog post by Karandi who did poll on her blog. A post I forgot to like earlier since I was on my phone, and typically not logged in XD. Moving on, on that post she shared the results of a poll asking her readers to vote on the best anime in the Spring season. In that poll, Hinamatsuri won the vote for best Spring anime, and that brought it to my attention. Not being one to solely be persuaded by public opinion alone I went on Discord to check if anyone I knew has seen it. Luckily for me, someone by the username of Robtaku has seen it, and he enjoyed it. How credible was his input to me you might ask? Well to straw man my point, he likes Hand Shakers (2017), and I don’t so there’s that. I started Hinamatsuri around the time I finished Devils Line, and that anime just sucked the soul out of me. I was in need of a comedy, even a bad one to lift my mood after feeling drained by that. Much to my surprise I did not end up disliking this anime. A  pleasant surprise that I found something I agree with the general census on.

This whole scene is comedy gold

Hinamatsuri starts in a odd place with the first episode providing a glimpse three years into the future. On one hand the opening minutes of episode 1 will get viewers attention with a nicely animated action sequence, and keep them watching. On the other hand, it’s also a misleading draw since the anime only dedicates half of an episode to that event, and it the rest of the series is nothing like that. Trying to give Hinamatsuri a synopsis would be pretty pointless, but I’m doing it either way. Initially you think it will be about a Yakuza by the name Yoshifumi taking care of a stoic blue hair girl with telekinetic powers named Hina, but eventually jumps around characters a lot becoming more of a slice of life comedy. In your average anime series I would likely complain about the lack of an overarching story, but here I’ll give it a free past. Unlike the common slice of life anime I see, Hinamatsuri actually knows how to handle drama.

This is strange for me to compliment since I’m used to complaining about how poorly handle comedy, and drama is handled in a anime series. Something like March Comes In Like A Lion I complained about how the tonal shifts are jarring being very serious one moment, and the next being overly silly. Hinamatsuri on the other hand has a simple fix to this through Anzu. A character who carries the most dramatic weight in the series. Struggling with living on her own being stuck in the past she sees how harsh living the homeless life can be at her young age in Japan. By dedicating an entire character to explore this drama it prevents the anime from creating constant tonal shifts. So whenever it wants comedy it’ll focus on Yoshifumi taking care of Hina, and if it wants drama it’ll shifts to Anzu. By doing this, the audience will know what to expect until that arc eventually gets finished. My only complain to how the drama is done is the anime wants you to be in tears, but given how well it’s done if someone actually cries during Anzu portion of the anime I won’t be scratching my head like I would with other animes doing the same thing.

This happens all the time when I drink

On the comedy side Hinamatsuri offers a host of hilarious supporting characters. All of whom overreact, or underreact to a strange event. The character who best excels at this is Mishima, a middle schooler who gets pulled into being a bartender. This puts her in a number of odd situation where she constantly interacts with stupid adults. One of them being her teacher who denies believing Mishima is his student because of her abilities to make a good drink. It’s about as silly as it sound, but works better in context. I ain’t going to do a breakdown of the comedy since it offers a lot of good jokes, but I will add aside from being funny it uses comedy to touch on some serious issues quite nicely. I personally just see Hinamatsuri as just a good anime comedy, but there is a solid foundation for the average viewer to probably take more away from it than I did.

The production is apparently handled by Studio feel. which I find shocking because the only other anime I’ve seen from them is Dagashi Kashi season 1 which I disliked a lot. It felt so pointless, and none of the characters learned anything. So it’s further shocking for me to accept they made this because I laughed, thought the drama was well handle, and I felt satisfied with how it turned out. On the animation side it was good, even if there’s no flashy action. Everything is nicely detailed, and it’s very colorful as well. What the animation did greatly was capturing the character exaggerated expressions. Studio feel. spared  no expense on that front, and especially the lighting which allows some proper shading. Also, it’s pretty good doing visual analogy for a good laugh. In particular, I like the visual where the words of Hina word kept changing in episodes. Good on you studio feel.

And good on them for giving us this horrific reaction XD

One minor thing I did appreciate is depending on what episode you were watching the opening, and ending credits will change. For instance, after episode 7, Utako (a bartender) doesn’t appear next to Yoshifumi in the end of the opening credits. It’s something I appreciated, even if it doesn’t affect anything at all. In terms of sound nothing about it stood out to me, especially the ending, and opening theme which I didn’t care for that much. I saw this with the English dub, and it was pretty good. All the voice actor had good chemistry with each other, and nice comedic timing.

If anyone in the English cast deserves my highest praise, performance wise that is, it would be Anzu voiced by Amanda Lee! What! When I discovered this my head exploded because I’ve been listening to her covers of anime music for years (side note: I also like her original stuff a lot), and not once did it register to me that it could possibly be her. So, yes, because of this she obviously deserves my highest praise. She nicely portrays Anzu in all her charm, and sorrow. Doing exceptionally well in the dramatic sequences, and her outstanding moment is easily episode delivering a very emotional performance. This anime full is packed with pleasant surprises. With that, I should I conclude this before I accidently spoil anything while gushing about it.

If I were to rate Hinamatsuri I would give it an 8 out 10 easily. It was a lots fun, and knew how to handle drama well. Go watch it if you haven’t, especially you finished Devils Line, and feel drained by it like I did.

Some Thoughts On: Devils Line (2018)

I’ve been telling myself where I should begin with Devils Line because no matter where I start I reach the same conclusion. I cannot think of a single thing in Devils Line I could give some kind of praise towards. Just about everything in Devils Line is either not to my liking, or mediocre to the point of being forgettable. Making a collection of scattershot thoughts even harder to make into a coherent post.

Blink 05.png
Would you believe me if I told you the girl on the right isn’t a vampire? Of course you wouldn’t.

I guess the first episode is a good place to start. It did itself no favors, and left me with a negative impression. The animation, the writing, the sound design, just about everything about it felt sub par, or worse. It also committed the grave sin of doing exactly what I expected of it. If something falls into my expectation in terms of writing I’ll accept it so long the execution is good, but that didn’t happen here either. So trying to figure out what exactly Devils Line is about simple, and dumbfounded at the same time. Being a romance story about the human Tsukasa, and the half human, half vampire, half edgelord Anzai trying to make their relationship work in the backdrop of Japan to tackle social issues with vampires potentially playing a larger role in society…I mean devils. 

Before I continue I have to stress it got on my nerve that within Devils Line that the terminology for vampires is changed to devils. Something I would accept if within the first two episodes they didn’t refer to devils as vampires. If there’s already an existing word to describe these vampires that gets straight to the point why not just stick to calling them vampires. I don’t know, maybe the mangaka was too lazy to write out vampire so he instead called them devils to save time. That’s something I want to know, but likely going to be left hanging like with everything else in this anime.

Continuing on, in the first episode Tsukasa gets the shocking revelation that a good friend of her, Shouta Akimura, turned to be a vampire who murdered three women. You want to know how Akimura got caught? It’s because his semen was left on each of the dead women bodies which apparently was a match with Akimura DNA. I would come up with a joke for that, but my creative juices are dry right now.

♪Am I not edgy enough?♪ ♪Is my heart still beating?♪

Akimura is quickly forgotten about two episodes into the season. Tsukasa quickly gets over him so the first episode setting up Tsukasa, and Shouta Akimura being good friends felt pointless. One way the writing could have worked around this pointless character is mentioning Tsukasa incident with Akimura being the motivator for why Tsukasa wants to help Anzai to control his blood lust later on in the season. I would have found that more believable than what anime went with.

Another way I would have fixed this is simply have Tsukasa get attacked by a random vampire so the meeting with Anzai would still happen. Making the writing less eye rolling, and not drawing attention that Tsukasa was quick to forget someone close to her so easily. If the anime didn’t have the pretense that Akimura was important I wouldn’t even have batted an eye at this. I knew this was going to happen in the first episode when our woe is me edgelord Anzai kisses Tsukasa by the end of episode one. When the credits finally rolled up I notice the ending song had an effect on me. It was attempting to put me to sleep, and it almost worked once. Just the first episode of Devils Line is enough to convince your average viewer to drop the series. I ain’t one of those viewers as I’m here today sharing my thoughts on it.

My issues with the story can be easily generalize; awkwardly written romance, an attempt to tackle social issues get push to the background, a messy story structure that goes for too much too quickly, and throwing in some other evil organization to give the appearance the story is more complex than it actually is. Another issue is setting plot points, and subplots that aren’t resolved in this season. So you’re left with dozens of unanswered questions, and unresolved storylines. Studio Platinum Vision couldn’t conceive of a way to take the manga, and find a way to work 12 episodes worth of material to adapt in a self contain manner. Believing it would get around to eventually resolving all its loose ends with a second season. Dozen of animes adapting ongoing manga know have done this. Two example that come to mind are Noragami to even My Hero Academia which I hate a lot. Both anime first seasons told a self contain story within their first season where a continuation is possible, but if not guaranteed than made sure to leave as little loose ends as possible.

Why breaking into the apartment of the woman you like, and sniffing her hair while she’s sleeping isn’t creepy at all!

Giving details about the world like the many times characters mention a bill/law being pass approving sex between devils, and human. Exploring something like that would be interesting, but unfortunately it means exploring the topic of sex has to be done with a horny college girl who immediately fell in love with the first guy who kissed who she knew nothing about, and a edgelord devil who fell love with that same woman when he also knew nothing about her. Tsukasa in particular dreams about having some steaming hot sex in blood with Anzai the first day after they meet. She obviously has some carnal desires she needs to get pounded out of her. Getting me to think about the first two episodes having Tsukasa almost being rape/killed by the only other human males she talks too. Implying to the viewer that Tsukasa think all men she know for possibly years are all bad, but an edgelord who’ll sneak into her apartment, sniff her hair while she’s sleeping is okay to consider starting a relationship with. This gives me a headache thinking about it.

The only aspect I felt could have worked are Anzai parents. I forgive the fact that I find it laughable that Anzai in his current age only now thinks about how shocking his existence is being a mixture of half devil, and human. Anzai parents were characters I wanted to learn more about. Seeing Anzai father cuffed up behind a glass wall got my attention. I wanted to know how both of Anzai parents got to the situation they did, how they met, and why they aren’t raising their son together. Questions that intrigued which sadly didn’t get answered. Just like in episode one how I expected Anzai, and Tsukasa to have an romance I also sadly expected for Anzai parents to not be explored.

Another interesting idea that doesn’t get explored is the existence of devils becoming know to the public. I can only speculate what the anime was going for because it was seriously messy in this regard. First thing that comes to is devils simply seeing the sight of blood on television is enough to make them blood lust. Something I can’t phantom because A.) Does it mean even the sight of fake blood gets them excited, B.) Do non liquid representation of blood like drawings, or pixelated blood also cause their blood lust, C.) Does reading the description of blood turns on their blood lust, D.) Is there a requirement to how realistic, or fake looking the blood has to appear to start this blood lust………Z.) If there’s a devil emo, when he cuts himself, and sees his own blood does that also trigger the blood lust?

Only one of dozen times Anzai want to devour Tsukasa.

Usually how it works with vampires is if they see blood, or smell it directly in front, or around them than it could trigger a carnal blood desire. However, in this story devil’s simply seeing blood regardless of how close, fuzzy the image is, or the lack of smell can also trigger them. Given the terminology was needlessly change to refer to these vampires as devils I ain’t doubting more about them were needlessly change by the mangaka.

Back on topic, seeing the how the society would react to devils, and see if they would try to integrate together in a public sense could have made up for everything else. However, you get the point. It’s hardly focus on. As soon as devil’s existence become public knowledge the story shifts focus to Anzai attempting to control his blood lust, and uncovering the members of a organization attempting to eradicate all devils. Both plotlines are left unresolved making me feel like it was a complete waste of time to even allude to any social issues since it just swept them under the rug. Maybe it wanted to be metaphorical, and proclaim the acceptance of different people, but everyone simply jumped to conclusion immediately disliking the devils. There is a good argument in favor of their existence since the public is shocked Devils existed at all, though if the anime isn’t going bother making a good argument for Devils I won’t either.

Oh no, this scene!

Let’s get to easily the worst scene of the series for me. In episode 8, after Anzai, and Tsukasa try some blood lust control training. Basically meaning Anzai, and Tsukasa get as close as possible to performing sex. Seeing this scene was cringe worthy because the couple don’t have much chemistry with each other. Making the almost sex scene very awkward to watch, and painful to view because it comes off as a badly written sexual fantasy of whoever wrote this series. When the exercise is over Anzai goes outside the exercise room, and thinks about how he was turned on. He tells the audience how he got excited almost banging Tsukasa. How getting her wet made him very excited. Spelling it out to the viewer he wanted to move in her all the while he masturbates. Thankfully it is not explicit, but this is the easily one of the worst moment in any anime I’ve seen.

I will give the English dub of Devils Line one credit though, it’s only the second anime I’ve watched an anime that made me laugh at the mention of rape. It was during episode 4 when Nanako Tenjo, whose English voice is provided by Kira Vincent-Davis, yells about how a devil drank her dead mom blood. There’s brief pause before Kira Vincent-Davis continues shouting AS HE RAPED HER! Her delivery of that line had me laughing because Tenjo shouting about her mother being deceived, and see a devil suck her blood was already enough to get the point across on why she hates devils so much. So the inclusion of the “AS HE RAPED HER!” line felt so tacky. I don’t blame Kira Vincent-Davis shouting the line as seriously as she did, but the writing, and her delivery made me laugh unintentionally at rape. The things anime does to me sometimes.

Blink 07

I don’t know how, but I can’t believe I almost forgot to write about Miwako Toda. It wasn’t until I was drawing over a still of her that it slipped my mind to write about she would not blink. Firstly, what the fuck is wrong with her eyes! She looks like a crack addict who needs a dose right now. I thought her eyes were going to pop out at one point in the series. I have no clue how, she managed to look like the most terrifying thing in a about about vampires. Her face, and her eyes unwillingness to want to blink made me think the anime would reveal she’s a devil. That doesn’t happen as far the anime is concern. Her odd character design made fascinating to me. She looked other worldly. Oddly enough, she was the most sensible character in the anime. Questioning Tsukasa on her moving way to fast relationship. Out all of the characters, this freak of nature was one I didn’t mind. As you would guess, she’s not in the anime that much either! You know, Devils Line has a talent for making things disappear.

I wasn’t expecting much out of Devils Line after I finished the first episode, and when I got to the end it became a drag to watch. It had the occasional moments of doing something eye rolling that would make me laugh, but after a while the overly serious edgelord tone killed that fun. There was so much it wanted to do, and it all felt disconnected moving from one uninteresting plot point to the other. I didn’t even bother going into the animation especially the lighting in scenes either being too dark or too bright, and the poor sound design that made natural action like hearing footsteps be muffled. The last two episode just took whatever enthusiasm I had for watching anime, and crushed it. Unfortunately for it, I’m good anime at the moment so its effort went to vain. Almost forgot, the post credit sequence doesn’t fix anything at all because I don’t give a flying Van Damme about about Anzai, or Tsukasa as a couple.

Oh yeah the maybe rating thing I do at the end. If  I were to rate Devils Line I would give it a 1 out of 10. I can’t think anything of thing I liked in this anime, or felt was competently done. If you want a vampire anime, go watch Vampire Princess Miyu. It doesn’t matter if it’s the OVA, or anime series, both will provide you a much better experience than Devils Line.


Some Thoughts On: Wounded Man (1986) OVA

Sometime you look at a mirror, stare at your own reflection, with Michael Jackson “Man in the Mirror” track playing in the background, and contemplate the meaning of existence itself. Very few anime will ever make you think on a deep, and philosophical level. Encouraging a change in your that you might have never expected. Wounded Man, is not that anime. It’s from the glorious era of the 80s which seems to be littered with endless amount of bonker OVAs. As usual, much like the coherency of Wounded Man, it’s all just a scattershot post of thoughts.

Before I continue, I should establish one of my two (the other is Ashita no Joe if you’re curious) favorite manga of all time is Lone Wolf & Cub by writer Kazuo Koike. The man who also wrote the Lady Snowblood manga, and wrote the film adaptation which inspired Quentin Tarantino Kill Bill series. With these two manga alone, Kazuo Koike could have simply retired, and be widely remembered as one of the great storytellers in manga. Obviously he continued given his success, especially from the world wide acclaim for Lone Wolf & Cub. Yet, somewhere in his career he found a fascination with American culture, and created some idiotic manga which eventually got made into OVAs. One of these is the schlocky, and very, very dumb Mad Bull 34 enjoyable for all the wrong reasons, and also today’s OVA is just as dumb. Just with the entertainment factor, and a giant guy flipping over a tank missing from its insane plot. Oh yeah, it’s manga also got licensed by Comicone, and yes, you can officially buy the manga in English. Baffling considering, from the images I quickly looked over online of the Japanese version, seems to be a faithful adaptation of the same terrible content. With less sex presumably because one of the random volume I clicked on had just panels, after panels of what I could only interpret as tragic sex. Sometimes the world doesn’t make any sense.

The most realistic thing in Wounded Man

Wounded Man attempts to tell the classic tale of the Vanguard of Soccer (who actually plays football), Rio Baraki, seeking vengeance on a porno company that took the life of his girlfriend. If that sounds too ridiculous to take seriously, don’t worry because the anime will make sure you take it seriously in all the wrong the ways. For starter, the first appearance of our Vanguard of Soccer is during his random encounter with news reporter Yuko Kusaka who goes to Brazil for a news story about gold in a village. Now how would one go about introducing our lead character in the first episode? By obviously attacking the news reporter, raping her, and later claiming after he’s done raping her that he did it for her own good! To paraphrase, the rape he gave her is only a small fraction of the dangers she could experience in the amazon of Brazil. This happened in the first six minutes of episode 1, which might actually be the quickest an anime I’ve seen getting to a rape scene.

Once it introduces Rio Baraki in this manner it’s impossible to eliminate the bad taste it leaves in your mouth. This wouldn’t be an issue if he wasn’t the main character! Not only that, but the story clearly wants you to root for Rio Baraki as he conquers many challenges until the day he finally gets vengeance. Providing a sob story about how the woman he loved got killed after a series of stupid events. One of them including in episode 1, Rio swimming in Piranha infested water as a form of apology for raping the news reporter. He comes out unscathe, and the news reporter forgives him! Revenge is solid motivation for the story, except for the fact Rio Baraki rapes another woman in episode 4, and in the span of five episodes falls in love with three other women. So he’s unable to differentiate love, and lust much in the same way he’s incapable of keeping his dick in his pants. How am I supposed to sympathize with Rio when every time he fucks a woman he later falls in love with them. Everytime! I’m suppose to feel sorry for this guy? Yeah, that ain’t happening.

What story Wounded Man does offer is purely nonsensical going from point A, skipping a couple of steps, and finally end up at the ending credits. It’s simply one stupid event after another. One moment you’ll Rio self inserting himself into a young woman who he tied up to a wooden boat steering wheel in order to get her on his side (don’t ask), and next thing you know you have a hysterical woman laughing while the boat is on fire. My mere description of this moment does it no justice. It’s something else entirely to witness it, and just be in awe someone thought this was something that should have been animated.

Fat guy here, great shot! Should have be the MC

Would you believe me in episode 5 there’s a random tangent about Helicopters leading in to a pointless fight between two war veteran because one of them shot down a Helicopter. Aside from being completely stupid, it’s also lacking in a sense of fun. It’s takes itself way too seriously despite the fact it’s filled to the brim with stupid writing. For example, in episode 2 Rio is able to pick up an entire tree with ease, and throw it as Indian tribe! Not convince it’s stupid enough? Well, the news reporter Rio raped in episode 1 falls in love with him despite her stating she hates his guts for what he did, and will be apart from him until she gets revenge before confessing her love for him! In episode 4, he thinks the way to get Misty, a young assassin, on his side is by tying her up on a boat wooden steering wheel, and yes, self insert himself into Misty. In case you’re wondering, yes Misty too also falls in love with Rio!

Now before the plot twist in episode 5 which makes the whole series feels utterly pointless in viewing because everything beforehand has to be taken at face value. Think about it, before the plot twist you’re meant to believe there’s a evil porno company going around kidnapping famous people, and forcing them to into porn for large amount of profits. Watching episode, after episode thinking about the fact we have former football player going up against evil porno company for killing his girlfriend. This is the kind of stuff you wouldn’t expect a sane person to come up with, except for the fact someone did, and nutcase at Comicone thought it was perfect to license, translate the manga, and officially sell it! Once there’s more revealed about the porno company it gets dumber since it eventually takes Rio to the good old US, and by the last episode has a quick word with the president of the US. After you get the plot twist, it doesn’t make any sense since it just opens a bigger can of worms.

The twist is worthless since there’s so little to Rio as a character, and wholly unlikable through his action that nothing felt gained in his journey. He’s a single minded character with no depth. If that was the point of Wounded Man that would be one thing, except for the fact it was not. This could have been remedied with interesting characters, except for the fact there aren’t much to the other characters besides the bizarre assortment of situations they get into.

Where do I even begin.

With everything I’ve described you would also be misled into thinking this is an entertaining series to watch. When the bonker events aren’t happening there’s plenty of more dead air to fill the space. Most of it feels pointless. Talking about things I’ve already forgot about. Except for the odd insert of possibly moving away from revenge who you know could lead to some kind of development, but doesn’t since Rio is single minded, and there’s no insight provided into his mind. Well scratch that, he does love to fuck a lot, regardless if the woman wants it, or not. What a man!

One thing that would have improved the experience, though not by much, would have been watching this with better English subtitles. At the time I chose to watch Wounded Man I saw it terrible fansubs. Allegedly, the version I saw was from a Chinese knock off DVD, and simply use Google translate to for the subtitles. They are of poor quality. Not poor enough to prevent you from the gritty details of the story, but poor enough where it’ll feel like it’s different langue to you. On the rare occasion, the bad subtitles add some fun to the OVA for how confusing it is. My favorite example is Rio saying “There’s a Japanese saying. Shower, or woman. It doesn’t matter”. What is that suppose to mean! There’s also another moment where bullets clearly hit Rio multiple times, you’ll get shown the doctors removing the bullets from Rio body, and the doctor comes out to say “It’s okay. Bullets always miss the target”. No, I have idea what the people, person were smoking when translating this, because I’m pretty sure they weren’t smart enough to know how to smoke.

To further add insult to injury, after I finished the OVA I quickly discovered on YouTube someone provided better subtitles for Wounded Man. So naturally I went back to see what the Japanese saying in episode 1 was, and again, I still have no clue what the heck it means. This time, the saying is “Rain in buckets, or a woman. Neither one, or the other, doesn’t matter”. At this point, the only way to truly find out what Rio meant is either I learn Japanese, or buy the manga. Obviously, I would prefer the former because ain’t no way I’m obtaining the Wounded Man manga…at least this moment. It can easily be found on YouTube, and with a better comprehensible translation than the version I saw. However, I recommend going with the worse subtitles since you’ll get some unintentional laughs.

Now with everything I’ve said about Wounded Man, you’ll be wrong to assume I’ll tell you to skip this. No, quite the opposite because I suffered through this trash of an OVA, and I might as well encourage you to seek this out to share in my suffering. See everything it has to offer from cheap animation, overly dramatic music, and over the top voice acting. Experience it in Wounded Man!

If I were to give this a rating I would say a 1 out of 10, which still seems to high!

Some Thoughts On: Anime-Gataris (2017)

….Oh man, this one I gotta say was annoying in the amount time the word anime was said. You might be wondering why I chose to watch an anime that literally translates too Anime-Chat in English out of the hundreds of anime I have on my plan to watch list. I asked myself the same question every night for the past six days, but then I remember someone on a Discord server I sometime visit. We’ll just call that individual Rob, who had a passionate hatred for Anime-Gataris. Hearing about it the anime from him for the first time, and his immense hatred for the anime was fascinating. I did a quick image search as a result of that discussion. It looked harmless, and nothing I would see from just a quick image search. However, he compared his passionate dislike for Anime-Gataris to my passionate hatred of My Hero Academia season 1 (man, do I hate that anime so much), and that kept it in the back of my mind. Of course, I gotta point out I this anime June 6, of 2018. Why still put in the date of when I completed something in these blog entries? In case I ever go crazy, I can blame it on one of these animes.

I would watch an anime about a DJ cat. To bad I ain’t.

Someone strong negative opinion on Anime-Gataris got me interested in seeing it instead of passing up on it. During this time, I was around 5 episodes away from finishing up Little Witch Academia so why not replace something I had a blast watching with something I wasn’t enjoying. Great logic I know, but I gave it a shot, and to be fair, it still sucked. The whole idea of Anime-Gataris is average high school student Minoa Asagaya becoming entrance into the world of anime, and its fanbase. Okay, that is an idea I can go along with fine. The problem immediately start to pop up since if you know about anything about anime, and its community you will still have to go through explanation after explanations about various things pertaining to anime. Be it genres of anime, anime production itself, the appeal of certain animes, and what not. You get the problem, if you’re well verse into the anime community these explanations are boring to sit through. It doesn’t help either Anime-Gataris loves to use the word anime so much in its dialogue to the point I wanted the character to stop talking about anime! For newcomers, it simply paints every aspect of anime in a positive manner in broad strokes coming across more like an advert to join the anime community than something informative.

When the characters aren’t talking about anime, I kid. That’s generally all the series focuses on. It’s in the title, but at the same time probably seeing the characters have an interest in something else would be nice. Mino Asagaya starts out a normal high school student who doesn’t anything about anime, and once she reopen her school’s anime club with her rich otaku friend in episode 1 that’s all Minoa attention diverts too. Much like how it portrays the anime community, and fandom it doesn’t bother to even mention the possible addiction one can have to anime. Minoa begins to ignore her one friend on the track team who isn’t into anime as the series goes on, and there’s no repercussion. The setup is right there to bring up Minoa sudden obsession with consuming anime to be discussed, and gladly ignores it. This anime doesn’t like conflict.

In terms of a story it’s a slice of life with no overarching story until the last two episodes. Almost the entire series is just Minoa learning everything surrounding anime, and trying to not get her club shut down by the student councils. In terms of conflict, that’s about it. The whole over the top evil student councils act gets old quickly. There would be some more conflict between the anime club members, but after episode 2 where there is some bickering. Also, the line “You’ll make anime cry” caused me to pause the episode, and reflect on life choices. Not long enough since I still continued. There was one interesting plotline where Minoa talks to an anime director whose effort received harsh feedback, and how it soured him to anime. This conflict gets resolved unsatisfactory, but at least it displays some kind of negative aspect around anime.

Code Catass 2
Unfunny reference number 65

When the “humor” isn’t all about making anime references it got some laughs out of me. There was one unexpected joke that made me laugh in episode 6. It was when Minoa, and her friends go to a shrine, and while holding up the good luck charms a bird poops on one of the charms Minoa is holding. It’s simple, but it got a laugh out of me since it came out of nowhere. Every other time it’s referencing some random anime. Simply referencing something does not equate to a joke, something this Anime-Gataris doesn’t grasp. The biggest drawback is having a mostly eccentric cast of characters so constantly seeing them do over the top things just becomes par for the course. Like one of the member believing one of her male member confess to another male member.

The last two episodes were the most entertaining since that’s when anime becomes one with the real world. Why it happens is convoluted, but at the same time this is a series that has a talking cat that on one pays attention too for most of the season. So anything is fair play in this series world. It actually starts taking shape in episode 9 when people ask for recommendation from the anime club, and the students replicate what they see from anime. You know, like building a working prototypes of working mecha legs, and building a Pyramid for a duel. This would be hilarious if the anime didn’t introduce a talking cat in the first episode. You know, kinda gives away something fishy is going to happen. Minoa talks to this cat who she refers to as Mr. Kitty, and Mr. Kitty is largely unimportant in the grand of schemes until the last two episode when he’s need to revert reality back to how it was.

I would talk about the characters, but you have the super eccentric fan in Kai Musashisakai, Arisu Kamiigusa the rich otaku, Nakano Mitsuteru the popular guy & the school’s prince charming, Erika Aoyama the closeted otaku, Miko Koenji who likes light novel, and Minoa Asagaya the outsider converted into an anime fan. Only half of these character receive any kind of development, and the ones that do don’t have much going for them either, Erika Aoyama is the most interesting since it’s implies she drifted from her former best friend due to how engage in anime. One let go of it while growing up thinking it’s for children, while Erika still enjoys anime, but doesn’t express it openly. Sadly, what could have been a intriguing subplot gets thrown to the way in favor of comedic antics. There’s Kai Musashisakai particular who loves doing over the top movements, roleplay as shounen characters, and believing he has magical powers. When he likes another club member you think the anime would do something with this, except for the fact…yep you guessed it. Nothing much happens with that.

face 2
I made a similar face while watching this anime

The only character in this series I’m conflicted about is Minoa Asagaya. She isn’t any different from the rest either since I don’t care about her, especially when English dub actress Dawn M. Bennett tried to hard to make Minoa sounds cutesy. Minoa cutesy voice became grating to me, in particular when you know what word already is constantly brought up by her. Yet, I still can’t help liking her a bit for superficial reasons despite my annoyance. One of them being I like the silly facial reaction she gave sometimes. It’s one of the few things that actually made me laugh consistently. There’s also the many points she overthinks stuff, but I sorta liked that. Showed she cared a lot about her friends, and wanting to get closer to them through a common thing they liked. It’s the closest this series gets to fully developing a character. Some of her lines like “You’ll make anime cry” made me cringe, but at the same time Dawn M. Bennett delivery of these cringey lines made it memorable. I should hate this character because she’s one dimensional, but I just can’t despite my better judgement. As for her character design, I don’t know. Minoa looks exactly like her sister, but with pink hair. Actually, let’s stop talking about her now before I get into a internal philosophical debate on whether, or not I think she’s cute.

On the technical side from the English voice acting, animation, and music it’s subpar. The animation never gets a chance to shine since you just have characters talking about anime nearly all the time. The only chance it breaks away from the mundane are during the last four episodes where the animation gets a bit more silly. On the other hand, WAO World (the animation studio) are lazy in this department too. The most evident being episode 8 where the studio reuses the terrible looking 3D dancing animation in the ending credit within the episode in its entirety. That’s pretty lazy. Episode 8 also deliberately has some crummy animation, but it makes sense context as to why that is.

As I’ve re-read this I notice this, I notice this scattershot post seriously over the place! More so than usual. I should have expected that since as an idea I like what Anime-Gataris could have been, but I don’t like what it actually is. Flat character, annoying anime references, and just coming across as pandering to its viewer with how much it showers anime with praise after praise. On one hand, I did like seeing Minoa attempting to make friends within the anime community, and getting attached to anime like her friend. It’s just all happened to quickly feeling lackluster overall. The only thing I took away from this series is I got no clue if I like Minoa, or not.

Anime-Gataris had some good intentions to show the appeal of anime, and its community from the perspective of someone not well verse in the medium, but it’s a one sided affair. Much like any other communities, the anime community also has its fair share of drawbacks none of which Anime-Gataris ever brings up. That’s just a simple part of reality, but as an introduction to anime it doesn’t work either. Simply generalizing anime fans as people who live, sleep, and breath anime 24/7. I won’t doubt there’s people like this, but it doesn’t show different type of fans in the community. For anyone whose well verse in anime, and its community will find it many scenes explaining basic things boring to sit through. While newcomers to anime will simply be bored by the lack of any interesting development the story story takes. It’s lighthearted slice of anime that in the end of the day is harmless, but doesn’t know what makes a good series in its genre.

If I were to rate this anime, I guess a 4 out 10.

Some Quick Thoughts On: Yagami Family Affairs (1990) OVA

If you have seen anime long enough you’re bound to find those bizzare titles that make you question everything logical. First one that usually comes to my mind is how that did I get to a point where I watched a anime that tackles incest, terrorism, essentialism, and with penguins involve in a anime series called Mawaru Penguindrum (2011). I don’t know, but it what an interesting experience. That’s the kind thing you gotta expect, especially when you go out of your way to check out obscure anime on a whim. Most of the time, I simply don’t bat an eye at an anime I watch. However, this is one of those certain anime titles that make me question what in the world I’m watching, and it’s a thought that never leaves my mind.

This isn’t even the strangest thing she does in the OVA.

I’m going to write about one such anime called Yagami Family Affairs. The OVA is based on a manga called Yagami-kun Katei no Jijo which ran from March 1986 to May 1990. I was unable to look up any sales figure to see gauge how popular it was at the time, but apparently it was popular enough to get an 11 episode, live action tv adaptation which I can’t find any information on either. So, without any interesting facts about it to share lets move forward. I should give out a warning that yes, I’m going to partially spoil this OVA, but in the long run the overarching story really doesn’t matter much. If you so desire to watch a incest comedy OVA animated by Production IG (I’m not kidding, they actually did it) completely blind stop reading here. If you don’t care about minor spoilers, I shall continue to ramble on.

Yagami Family Affairs premise is on the ever so classic setup of a teenage boy named Yuji Yagami who loves his mother, and in a incestual kind of way. I would say Japan in particular has some kind of fascination with this type of taboo subject matter, but at the same time Game of Thrones made incest mainstream in the US, there’s also a US book from author V.C. Andrews called Flowers In the Attic which has a incestual plotline selling over 40 millions books world wide, and even my favorite horror movie, the original 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre US movie couldn’t escape having incest on some level in its story. So simply saying Japan has a fascination with it is a bit misleading when I also live in a place that is just as fascinated by it as Japan. However, from what I’ve encounter, incest is typically a sign that whatever piece of media you’re going to consume is likely going to turn out bad since it’s hardly used in quality works.

Moving on, the 3 episode OVA initially makes such a baffling premise for a comedy somewhat watchable for two minutes before derailing itself immediately. The biggest problem is everyone non-chuntantly accepts that Yuji Yagami has a sexual drive for his mother, even his father, and mother seems to be cool with it laughing it off later on in episode 1. I mean, just how am I supposed to make fun of that. There’s a moment in the first episode where several male students talk about how their mothers looks, and how their mothers are unattractive compare to Yuji’s mother. These um, mother fuckers/friends are envious, and rightfully tease Yuji for having a crush on his mother. I mean, how am I supposed to take a scene where a group of teenage boys compare how attractive their mothers are to a particular student. Just, so questionable on so many level. Yuji also ends up sleeping with his mother during episode 1, and no they don’t have sex. Get your mind out of the gutter!

Hmm, I honestly don’t know how to respond to that.

If you think I’m simply overexaggerating Yuji’s affection for his mother, well in episode 2 Yuji teams up with one of his teacher who also has a crush on his mother. Both call a truce because, you know, Yuji’s father is married to her, and both Yuji, and his teacher decide to resume their competition once they get her divorced. There is just so much wrong to untangle from that last sentence, and even more so from Yuji stupidity since how in the world do you forget your own mother is married to you know, your father! Oh man, Yuji Yagami, you’re really stupid. In episode 3, he teams up with a woman named Mitsuko Nanase (image below), whom I gotta admit I do find pretty hot.

Yes, it’s an excuse to post picture of an anime character I like in this OVA for shallow reasons.

More importantly though, Yuji teams up Mtsuko to help her capture the heart of his father. While people are deep in thought wondering what the meaning to life is, here I am wondering what in the world compel the creators of this project to come up with these kind situations. Everything that Yuji does in the service of him potentially hooking up with his mother, and no, no amount of light hearted music is going make cheer Yuji on for that.

The anime OVA exaggerates the humor, and the characters reaction in order to get a laugh out of the viewer. I did laugh somewhat at some of the jokes when they weren’t related to Yuji wanting to bang his mother, or around sex. It eventually gets repetitive when the jokes basically center around Yuji wanting to bang his mother, and the crazy lengths he’ll go just pound his own mother. One of the jokes is Yuji mother getting the measurement of her son’s penis in secret. Yep, that a thing that happened here. There’s also the moment where Yuji imagined his mother naked, and also briefly think about how many times he showered with his mother. If these things don’t have you laughing then maybe the moment Yuji confesses to a girl he likes that he’s in love with his mother, and the girl he likes also seems to be cool with it. The scene doesn’t end there either, he brags about kissing his mother everyday to this girl he likes. I’m in awe in the anime ability to just constantly keep me watching because of how questionable everything it does is.

This moment actually made me laugh.

By this point in this post, if you’re expecting anything resembling normal human behavior from the characters in this OVA just don’t. This is a comedy where Yuji gets hit by a car, and motorcycle at some point, and just brushes them off like he got hit by a spitball. Further adding to the insanity is that it actually has an overarching story with a central message about unrequited love. Granted, the setup is perfect for that because mother/son incest is just plain wrong. However, the overly lighthearted nature, Yuji attempt to want to fuck his mother by any length, and his strong sexual desire towards her makes the whole unrequited love lesson not work at all. It ends with Yuji setting a goal for himself to get over his mother complex, and the viewer doesn’t get to see that in progress. With everything I’ve seen in the OVA I would honestly not like think about what happens afterwards.

Also in episode 2, Yuji comically blows up his classroom with a rocket launcher when they him to make it a threesome with his mother. Seconds later, a character says Yuji can’t take a joke. Yeah, because Yuji who gets constantly teased for having a mother complex would laugh at people telling him to make sex with his mother into a threesome. I should probably do the same kind of teasing with one my friends, and see how he reacts to it. On second thought, probably shouldn’t considering what one of them did, and that will probably be a story for another time. The anime is filled to the brim with odd moments like this that one joke is at least bound to make you laugh.

Context: Son sees teacher cock blocking him for his mother. Obviously you assault him with a tank.

Only other thing to mention is the studio responsible for making this is none other than Production IG. Yes, the same Production IG responsible for Eden of East, Ghost In the Shell, and Psycho-Pass. The animation is actually decent for the comedy; movements are exaggerated, characters are very expressive, and typically filled energy. It’s weird complementing this OVA when I just spend the last couple of paragraphs questioning it story. I have no clue if the entire studio was blackmailed into making this, or the even crazier idea if the studio thought this project would sell well. Going down in anime history as one of its greatest unanswered mystery.

Would I recommend Yagami Family Affairs? Yes to be honest because it’s such a bizarre comedy with no semblance of logic you have to witness for yourself. It especially makes for a good viewing in a group where you can share the odd experience together. It’s such a questionable piece of animation that I couldn’t help, but finish it. If the premise isn’t something to your liking it’s understandable because incest is also something that makes me want throw up my soul, and enter into another worldly realm. For those who are okay with watching anything, no matter how questionable, I recommend checking this out, and revel in complete lunacy that is Yagami Family Affairs.

If I were to rate this anime I would give a 1 out of 10.

Some Quick Thoughts On (Currently) My Favorite Animes

I hardly finish any anime series in April so expect a couple of these blog posts of me writing about whatever anime related topic comes to mind. This post is also thrown together very quickly since I was unsatisfied with how my review of the Makoto Shinkai movie Your Name turned out. Instead of posting it in a unsatisfied state I would prefer working on it until I’m satisfied with it since it’s surprisingly difficult to express exactly how I feel about it. I would include more entries on this list besides of favorites the 5 (well, technically six for one of them) that I have on here. At the moment, I can say for certain these 5 animes are certainly in my all time favorites, and unlikely they’ll be removed from there any time soon.

The animes in this post are organized by alphabetical order instead of ranking them by favorites. Also, only anime tv series are included on this list, and not movies since there isn’t enough I adore to the point to make a blog post. So, here they are.

Cardcaptor Sakura (1998 – 2000)d2e

I dislike slice of life anime, and I also find it difficult to find anime where I simply sit back, and enjoy watching it. Cardcaptor Sakura breaks that trend for me as it has elements of slice of life, but done tremendously better than most. Who knew simply having characters grow up, and changing through the course of the series doing everyday things would go a long way. Not only that, but Cardcaptor Sakura also tackles the subject of love far better than a majority of romance, and harem animes I’ve seen. While not complex, it explores it in a broad sense from family love, understanding the differentiation between different type of love, and so forth. Never becoming to sappy, or overbearing when exploring the subject matter. All the while making me forget it’s a series starring little kids, and it shouldn’t be this good at doing everything it does.

There’s also a sense of wonder, and adventure that rarely capture it like Cardcaptor Sakura. For me, the experience of seeing the series was just like watching a Studio Ghibli movie. Making the real world seem fantastical, virtually without leaving it. Another reason I like enjoyed it besides the endearing characters, and good theme exploration was it felt like it always made progress. Nearly every episode would have Sakura capture a Clow Card causing trouble, and saving the day. When she wasn’t capturing a Clow Card, Sakura was simply doing her best to either finish school work, or something important for a friend. It had a formula it was more than comfortable repeating through its entire run, but I didn’t mind it. It either offered me a good source of entertainment, a well written piece of fiction, or both at the same times. Like Sakura deceased mother actually being developed in the series instead of just being a thing in the background. Too frequently do I see the dead parent trope/plot device used just a mean to sympathize with the hero. In Cardcaptor Sakura, it never felt like, and the series treated her as an important like it should have. Most surprisingly, multiple episodes to Sakura learning about her mother leading to some sweet moments.

Cardcaptor Sakura is only one of three anime that has ever manage to get some tears out of me, and currently the only anime to do it twice. Typically, in media I consume I rarely ever tear up at things I watch, even more rare at the times I actually cried watching something. Aside from Paddington 2 (yes, the talking bear movie), Cardcaptor Sakura is the only anime to ever get tears from me because of how heartwarming it was. The episode that did it for me was episode 22, titled Sakura, and Her Caring Father. By this point in the series, I grew to like Sakura, and her kind hearted nature came across as genuine. It was a likable part of her character. Also by this point, I was also invested into the other characters, and seeing them was simply a joy. It basically felt like seeing family. When seeing this episode, I wasn’t expecting it to get me surprisingly emotional as it did. It simply treated itself as another episode in the series, and didn’t go out of it way to get to me cry. All the characters acted as they usually do, and it was business as usual. By doing so, it didn’t make me raise my guard, and all my reaction to the episode came naturally.

Too frequently in anime do they try too hard to get me to feel something, and more so that short length anime try to get me to cry when I spend so little time with the characters. This is different since I spend 21 episodes beforehand growing to like the characters, and getting to know them. When I finally got around to seeing episode 22, ah, it was so heartwarming that it went from a anime series I thought was already special to become something I simply adore. There was also another moment that got to me tear because of how sweet it was, but unfortunately that would involve going into spoilers, and I rather not be the one to spoil that great moment.

I could go on gushing about how I enjoyed the growth of Sayaron Li over the course of the series. In particular, how his rivalry with Sakura grows simply beyonds being rivals in love with the same person. There’s also the huge praise of anime original character Meiling Li whom I felt added more to the series especially in terms of having a great character arc, and how her involvement in the series made for some great character interactions. Her absent in the manga was strongly felt for me when I eventually read it. There’s also the possibility of gushing about the fantastic soundtrack, the great animation, great voice work, and so forth. However, just like everything else on this post, if I did this would go on for probably another dozen, or so paragraphs.

Death Note (2006 – 2007)death-note-anime

Pft, it’s only my all time favorite anime series of all time, and for a while it took up the top two spot of my all time favorite anime series. Yes, I liked Death Note so much there was a time where there wasn’t a series I would put below it in terms of favorites. That eventually changed, but that’s on the next entry. For Death Note, simply put set a new standard for what I consider great writing. Before even starting Death Note, I constantly questioned how something with such a limited sounding premise be any good. One viewing of the entire series later, if it wasn’t for Death Note I wouldn’t have gone on to see like over 300 or so animes.

I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did since it took me about 4 episodes before I became addicted to the series. The first three episodes I thought were good, but nothing that would personally get me hooked into seeing it. It wasn’t until the halfway point of episode 5, and seeing Light Yagami on that subway threatening an investigators to give up the names of the investigators after him that the series became something I had to marathon. Within two days, it became the fastest anime I’ve ever finished, and only among the likes of Breaking Bad where no matter how much I saw of it I simply needed more of it. The mind games between Light Yagami, and L were always engaging to me. Seeing those two trying to get one up on each other seal the deal for me. Wondering how Light could match someone equal to him intelligence, and simply witnessing him face against L was pure bliss in terms of excitement.

Another aspect I liked about Death Note is the descend into madness. Witnessing the downfall of Light Yagami from a self-righteous young man whom came from a background of justice simply wanting to do good, and letting power get to him was good to see. I see part of myself in Light Yagami which is partially a reason why I love him so much. Well more specifically the part of him that easily detaches himself from anyone close to him to in order to meet an end goal I can relate too. Going into specifics on the other hand, not happening any time soon.

Even if that wasn’t part of Light Yagami character, there was also the intrigue of seeing officers trying to solve the case of Kira. How does one exactly capture a criminal whom is able to kill anyone, anywhere, and anytime if he has their full name. Most importantly, how does one capture that individual. I didn’t know the answers to that, but this anime series certainly did, and it offering surprises one right after another.

Of course, there’s also the last 12 episodes which I enjoyed honestly. At the same time, I am also the same person who enjoyed the first 25 episode of Death Note so much that I’ve yet to see another anime surpassing the sheer enjoyment, and expectation breaking experience that this has provided me.


Fullmetal Alchemist (2003 – 2004)fma.pngFullmetal Alchemist is the only anime on this post I saw twice, and it’s because of that rewatch that it certified itself in as permanently being my second all time favorite anime. More specifically, the first question why the original, and not Brotherhood. Simple, Brotherhood is a typical shounen, but excellence execution of everything shounen is known for. Therefore, I found Brotherhood very predictable, and also the first 12 episodes of Brotherhood ruined some of my favorite moments from the original series. Now, on the original Fullmetal Alchemist. What appeals to me more about it is the story remains a personal one, and unlike shounen doesn’t devolve into a saving the world story line. A nice change up from these kind of series aimed at it demographics.

Much like Cardcaptor Sakura, the cast of Fullmetal Alchemist is among my favorite of all time. Nearly all of them are complex, and given amount of depth to them. Every character is presented with shades of grey, and rarely does anything is ever presented in a simplistic way. When it does showcase something simplistic like the methods the Homunculus would use to make a philosopher’s stone it’s usage tends to help serve a greater purpose. Among other things, it’s world given a detailed history burden with conflict. Something this series does that I wish the fantasy genre in general would showcase with magic is the effect Alchemy has in its own, and different viewpoints on it. Alchemy simply something that everyone clamour to embrace wholeheartedly.

In spite of it shounen demographic, never once does it feel like it’s undermining the audience intelligence. Too often in shounen do I feel like they cover the same themes of power of friendship, never give up, believe in yourself, and so forth in a broad sense. Hardly do shounen aim series offer much food for thought. Fullmetal Alchemist on the other hand offers just that both directly, and indirectly. Tackling the human condition, and limits of it in a world where the existence of Alchemy can seemingly make anything possible. Showing to the viewer the sacrifices are willing to make in order to obtain the power to achieve their desire. While the battles are nice, the action is never something I’m excited to see because they don’t do anything special in my eyes in terms of animation, or choreography. However, I’m always engaged in them because the events leading up to them makes them a rewarding pay off.

On my first viewing of this series, that was a funeral scene that I found powerful in the anime. However, it was during my second viewing of the same funeral scene that got me to tear up  (not cry, there’s a difference). Despite the fact I knew what was going to happen it became it even more effective on me. Growing a greater appreciation for the strong character writing that I always loved, but now adored because of how powerful it can be. Yes, that makes Fullmetal Alchemist the only other anime beside Cardcaptor Sakura to actually get a tear out of me.

It’s thanks to Fullmetal Alchemists characters that makes it a special anime to me. Not only did it help me get back into watching anime again after being burned out on so many disappointments at the time, but gave me a greater appreciation for how special anime can be sometime. Capturing you emotionally, and impacting you in ways you didn’t think were possible. There’s the filler material I honestly prefer over Brotherhood because everything feels more personal to its characters, and doesn’t become lost among the dozen of cast member in a large scale battle. Also the ending in the series, one of my favorite of all time best portraying family love, and the consequences in the pursuit of gaining what is lost in anything I’ve seen.

Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (2007 -2008) & Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen (2011)


I know, yet another anime series made by Madhouse. What can I say. With my favorites they made each time I went into them pretty much blind, and everytime they exceeded expectation. This was another case of that of taking simple games with big risks, but breaking my mold of what I originally thought good writing was capable of. The psychology of its characters is perfectly presented by its visuals. Empathizing the atmosphere the games being played, and the mental of its player in these games. It’s the only time I would say a card game about Rock, Paper, and Scissor was ever made exciting. Akiyuki Shinbou director of March Comes In Like A Lion takes notes of how to use a similar direction correctly, and apply it consistently for your series. I know throwing that bit of shade is unwarranted, but that bugged me a lot in March Comes In Like A Lion, and I wanted it off my chest.

Episode 1 of season, no doubt about it. Without question, Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor currently has the best first episode I’ve seen in any anime. It establishes its premise right away, it has a fantastic hook, and sets up a good leading character right at the beginning. The only place left of it to go is simply up, and remains up there for the entire run. What I love about both seasons of Kaiji is about it manages to take simple games, and makes them addicting to watch. Despite the fact my mind tells me it’s all determined because it is written I still can’t help, but me constantly engaged in it. Never once during my viewing of either season of Kaiji did I see just a single episode. I needed to see multiple episodes to be satisfied.

It was the unpredictable nature of the series that kept me desiring more. Never before have I seen this type of story been told, and one of the few times where I didn’t bother predicting the events because I knew I would be wrong. Brimming with imagination, and creative ideas in its games it wouldn’t be the same without it main man Kaiji Ito. This guy, easily one of my favorite character of all time. Aside from being flawed, one aspect of Kaiji that engrossed me into the series is his constant belief, and desire to become a person than he originally was. He’s a man of fear, and man being to the lowest point, yet keeps on fighting no matter how powerful the urge to give up is. Becoming a constant uphill battle that Kaiji Ito seemingly makes step forward, but also takes an equal amount of steps backward.

An ongoing cycle that keeps me rooting for its protagonist. There’s the also the characters whom in spite of being cartoonishly evil are given surprisingly good reasoning for why their behavior going beyond the “I’m superior” notion. One in particular simply believes it’s human nature itself that is incapable of claiming responsibility for their action, and its through this irresponsibility they seek an easy way out. Both seasons of Kaiji provided me a great deal of addiction in terms of entertainment, but it’s the fantastic writing that kept me around, and why I love it so much.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 – 1996)116788-rai-ryuga-thunder-jet-anime-rai-ryuga-thunder-jet

Currently the oldest anime in my favorites (but not the oldest anime I’ve seen). As someone who consumed movies for a majority of his life Neon Genesis Evangelion is one example of a series I would point to when it comes to replicating the cinematic experience in tv format. From a purely technical level, the cinematography, and framing scenes is masterful creating from some unforgettable experiences. Whether it’s seeing something as awesome as two robot synchronizing they moves together to destroy a monster, or something as funny as framing a comedic scene. Yes, some of it is cheap, but it knew how to use that to is advantage. Like the infamous elevator scene that simply have two characters in a elevator not talking for about minute can be seen as cheap. However, it can also been seen as the distance between characters who are unable to connect despite how close they are in the room. Due to the way the series is actually written, the later interpretation is just plausible.

I could recall episode 4 when it became something special for me. Just the ending of Shinji on that train station platform, with Misato looking at him from the other side, and the episode concluding with Shinji saying “I’m home”. I know, such a simplistic moment to call back too, but for me that moment always stayed with me, and I haven’t forgotten about it. However, I would say one Neon Genesis Evangelion ditches it’s monster of the week formula for something more thought provoking, existential, and psychological driven is when it grew on more so than I thought it would. Typically, I wouldn’t be in favor of a series doing a complete 180 from what it originally started since from my experience they turn into trainwreck. Evangelion proved to be an exception evolving to become something far more memorable than it thought it would be.

The psychological breakdown of its many cast of characters embedded in my mind. Shinji Ikari in particular went from being a whiny twerp in the first episode I saw him in to being a character I love despite how fucked up he truly is. Being incapable to decide for himself what to do, having an over reliance on commands for other, refusing to pilot the robot even if the world is in danger, being capable of able to change positively, and so much more. Unlike everything else in post where I enjoyed the first episode, this is the only entry where the first episode of the anime I simply found okay. Thankfully, being one who never drops an anime no matter how bad it is I continue forward with it, and gave me for more than I would have expected.


That concludes it for this post. I would have gone more into detail about some of these series, but I rather just generalize what made them enjoyable for me, and if possible kept it a bit vague to not spoil anything important. Like I also wrote earlier in the post, this was thrown together last minute because my review for Your Name didn’t turn out like I wanted it too. Hopefully, spending some more time on that review will help me get it to the quality I want it at. Depending on what I do next, and my offline schedule I shall you good folks next time, and hopefully show more of my less professional side when it comes to writing about things. And hopefully, less of these last minute posts to come from me in the future.


I would like to credit the artists responsible for the artwork I used in my featured image for this blog.

Cardcaptor Sakura (left) artwork done by ManuLuce 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/luce4Red

Death Note (middle) artwork done by Dr.Monekers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrMonekers

Fullmetal Alchemist (right) artwork done by ddjvigo

Facebook (couldn’t find a Twitter):  https://www.facebook.com/ddjvigo/


Some Thoughts On: Vampire Princess Miyu (1996 – 1997) TV Series

On March 9, 2018  I finally finished the 26 episode anime series called Vampire Princess Miyu. In Vampire Princess Miyu, the title character is the focus of the anime, and shows her cursed to her duty to eliminating the stray Shinmas (demons basically) for all eternity. I started this anime around the same time I started Hell Girl Season 1. Both anime are named after the stoic, immortal female lead cursed to fulfill a otherworldly duty. Unlike Hell Girl season 1 which I liked from the first episode. Vampire Princess Miyu took around 5 episodes before I could enjoy watching it. The first episode isn’t good, and simply gives off a bad impression. Visual storytelling is messy, the human characters introduced become irrelevant after the episode ends, and very little key elements of the anime are established. It’s pretty lame until a giant demonic lizard makes an appearance. Episode 2 through 4 continue the trend for a bit, but episode 2 shows more of its promising side. For starter, some recurring characters are introduced, its formula is properly set up this time, and the episode has a pretty good ending. While episode 3 & 4 didn’t do much either to improve my impression of the anime.

When I finally got to episode 5 the series finally nailed it. The formula worked in its favor for once; the story the episode told was interesting, and just like episode 2, had a good ending to it. Episode 5 basically has Miyu, and her friends attempting to figure out what happened to a director’s unfinished film, and figure out what happened to the film’s leading actress. The supernatural elements work in nicely with this episode where in previous episodes it didn’t quite fit into them. Along with taking a unexpected direction it also touches on the future not turning out how the director desire it to be, and facing the consequences of his inability to move on from the past. Granted it doesn’t go in depth into this because not all 24 minutes are dedicated to that subject, but makes it feel balance with the desired minimal fantastical elements compared to the previous 4 episodes.

Much like Hell Girl, Vampire Princess Miyu is also an episodic series, but without an overarching story for most of it run. Episodic series typically have this trait, and here it comes with just about the same mixed results. Without an overarching story, Miyu, and her demonic slaying companions are simply wondering around Japan until they come across a Shinma, stary demons whom wonder into the human world creating chaos. Resulting in a anime while intriguing for me to watch had no urgency during its duration. For starter, the main cast of characters are hardly developed. Only Miyu, and her Shinma slaying partner Larva (also a Shinma) are given characterization randomly in the anime. Not to the point where I cared about their livelihood, but enough to keep my interest. However, nearly everyone else in the series is one dimensional. With a monster of the week setup characters are introduced, and typically killed within the same episode. Recurring characters that do make a appearance, like Miyu schoolmates are sidelined, and just there to provide some info of Shinma chaos through rumors.

So, with the lack of characterization for a majority of the cast, and repetitive episodic nature simply meanadering without an overarching story what kept me watching were the Shinmas. In certain episodes, seeing a Shinma cause trouble for humans, or seeing from the victim point of view the Shinma evil doings could be really engaging. For example, episode 9 (one of the best episodes) shows a couple adopting their neighbor cat, and showing it slowly tearing them apart. Unlike Hell Girl which tried to be scary, Vampire Princess Miyu can at least capture the horror-eque atmosphere it’s going for. The best example of good writing in the series is episode 11, and displaying the focus character psychology in his certain predicament. Besides receiving a new face from a Shinma, the focused character also begins what can be best described as sleep killing. The story episode 11 tell can have an entire series build around thanks to how well the execution of a simple idea was handle.

Miyu, despite being her voice actresses being stoic in the English dub was a character I couldn’t help, but like. Could be that I might have a thing for stoic, immortal female leads since I also liked Ai Enma (Hell Girl herself) from Hell Girl a good deal. Being such a drastic departure from your typical Vampires, it’s refreshing seeing a vampire who can wield fire, and occasionally fights demon. She also has empathy towards the human suffering from the Shinma which the anime goes into great detail into showing that side of her. It’s made a point in the anime early on Miyu does take blood from humans, and also has the ability to give certain humans “Sweat Dreams” forever to eventually die after sucking their blood. Of course, with the stoic voice actresses playing Miyu, it works in its favor when Miyu is cold towards certain Shinmas. I remember one episode where Miyu simply tells a very slow aging woman whom consumed Mermaid flesh to become immortal, and is afraid of dying. Miyu simply doesn’t reject the old lady plead to ease her suffering when ending her prolong life, but tells that’ll she simply have to suffer like every other human being until her very last dying breath. Outwardly, Miyu rarely shows the more conflict side of her emotions, but nonetheless I ended liking the character despite my better judgement.

If you’re craving some good demon slaying action look elsewhere since the action sequences in Vampire Princess Miyu are easily the weakest scenes in the anime. Besides having little in the way of fight choreography the same thing happens in nearly all of them. Larva comes into to save Miyu primarily with psychical attacks, and Miyu finishes off the Shinma quickly by burning them. No strategies are involved in the fight making them lame to witness. Only two fights in the anime are okay, though if it primarily desired to be an action series I would have been harsher on these sequences.

The only thing that somewhat positively stands out this anime would be the music. Dance of the Shinma, the series opening theme composed by Kenji Kawai, is a great tune that sets the mood for the series. I also like the limite usage of piano in the song, especially when it plays along the singing choir. It simply makes a joy to listen too. In series, the music helps set the atmosphere, and does a great job of creating this otherworldly sense when viewing it.

Other than that, I could touch on the English dub which is bad. The cast I felt was fine, but the performances of the voice cast leaves a lot to be desired. I could have just switched to the english subs to make some kind of comparison, but I didn’t since if I got the option I’ll go with a English dub. Even a subpar English dub like the one for this anime is more preferable for me when just casually watching anime. There’s also the 4 episode OVA also with the same name that I saw a long time ago before checking this series. Simply put, I can’t say much on that since it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but I can say for certain when I saw the 4 episode OVA of Vampire Princess Miyu that I didn’t like it. It nearly put me to sleep. Speaking of which, this anime series can also have that effect on viewers since it doesn’t change it formula. The same things might not be happening, but it certainly feels the same once you’ve seen more than 4 episodes.

I’ll close out another one of these scattershot impression, though upon re-reading this particular piece it certainly sound like (to me also) that I disliked the anime more than I liked. On very rare occasions, sometime something of average, or lower quality I end up liking for the positives despite the elitist in me telling me I simply shouldn’t. With Vampire Princess Miyu tv series, all it took to fall on my good side was simply provide me some stuff I can enjoy for 24 minutes. Enough so that I can forgive it faults whenever they showed up, and it succeeded. It didn’t keep improving like I wanted it too, but I’ll take an anime I find to simply be alright over the dozen, and dozen of bad animes I’ve seen.

If I were to rate Vampire Princess Miyu TV series I would rate it a 6 out of 10.

Some Thoughts On: Kino’s Journey (2003) Series

On March 10, 2018 I finished Kino’s Journey (2003) anime series for the first time, and found it average. As usual, this is not a review, and it’s simply scattershot thoughts. If I actually ever bothered rewatching this “eh” anime again I certainly would form a much better blog post than this.

From the onset, Kino’s Journey is about a traveler, who travels the world, and that’s about it. For an episodic anime this quickly came across as something I would not enjoy. However, after seeing the first episode I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out good. It was wondrous, had good world building, and a nice twist by the end of the episode that I didn’t see coming regarding the town’s history. Then episode 2 happened where it’s philosophical dialogue conflicts with the visual medium. You can talk about the true nature of man all you want, but you have a character who doesn’t like staying in one place too long. Making me question if I’m supposed to care what topics she brings up? The anime wants me too, but I don’t because one moment it’s absorbing with it philosophical talk, and something over the top happens to kill the mood. Like the ending of episode 2 simply felt like it just happened to have a “the folly of man” message.

Episode 3 was probably the high point of the anime for me. It displayed the most towns, the messages it had were delivered quickly so they wouldn’t get drowned out, and for once it was all tightly written without anything silly ruining it. In essence, it’s about this point I realize the series is literally just about Kino’s journey in the world, and the societies she witness. Leading to not creating any memorable characters, including the lead herself, and her talking motorcycle named Hermes. Leading to series where the main character you follow is the least developed aspect of the series. When it doesn’t to have the audience feel something about it’s world citizen is when Kino’s Journey at it strongest. Using the town’s people as plot devices to get across some kind of theme, or message.

At it weakest, you get episode 4 which delves into Kino’s backstory. Around half of the episode is good since it uses it characters to get across broad ideas. In this specific episode, it’s on what makes an adult, and what it means to be one. Where it falls apart is when you’re expected to care about the effect the society has on its people, even though consistently they never show up again once the episode is over. Much like Kino, everything feels passive. Kino goes into a town, passively observing it citizens decay in misery, and moves on to the next town. Aside from the two parter, every episode follows this formula. When not asking its audience to care about the characters it work because the ideas it touches are interesting.

My whole experience with Kino’s Journey (2003) was simply “eh”. Episodic anime, like mentioned in Hell Girl, aren’t things that draw me in. Kino’s Journey is an example of why; it’s a series of standalone adventures not connecting to anything resembling an overarching story. It’s main difference being it has more interesting ideas it touches on than a majority of episodic anime. Consequently, the lack of an overarching story make Kino seem like she is simply running away from her problems instead of facing them contrary to her backstory.

Just like Kino, the town’s people simply let things happen to their society without wanting to change it. Only once does Kino’s bother to interfere with the town itself in the two-parter Coliseum which is underwhelming. Aside from this one example, Kino, just like my attention, simply goes on to whatever is next without a connection. Speaking of connection, I struggle to figure out how this many decaying towns, or conflicting societies would be able to coexist in the same world without much conflict. Than again, that’s yet another victim of the passive writing.

I saw Kino’s Journey (2003) with the English dub for around 5 episodes, and I saw the entire series sub since I’ve watched it other people on a Discord server. When I saw the anime alone with the English dub, I found the English dub to be fine. From the episodes I saw, the performances were fine. None of the voice actor stood out. However, it was a lot easier to watch. For a series that’s wholly uneventful visually, being able to ponder about the themes it brings on without reading subtitles kept my mind stimulated. Watching it sub on the other hand simply make things a struggle to pay attention. Kino isn’t the kind of anime that likes raising action, so everything comes off as benevolent in a way. I did not care to read exposition dialogue for several minutes in multiple episodes especially when the town itself won’t matter in the next episode.

On a technical level, much like everything else, it’s average. The animation is at times soothing to look at, and some of the OST does wonders in bring the world to life. The opening theme, “All the Way” by Mikuni Shimokawa, on the other hand I wanted to skip every time I heard it. I heard some of Mikuni Shimokawa music beforehand, but never an entire album. The few songs I’ve heard from her make me feel like her singing in “All the Way” was half-assed. Shimokawa singing on songs like “Kimi ga Iru Kara” which is Fairy Tail 4th ending theme, and “Sore Ga Ai Deshou” which is Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu opening theme are better example of her singing. Now, I don’t think Mikuni Shimokawa is a great singer by any stretch since her inability to express strong emotion through singing prevents her from coming across as genuine. All the Way feels phones as the instrumental simply try to overtake her singing to disguise her stoic delivery. However, on the song “Sore Ga Ai Deshou” puts in the effort to pull on the heartstrings, even if she’s incapable of doing so. Unfortunately, since I was watching the series with other people I couldn’t skip the opening, and came across more phoned with each listen. The ending theme, “The Beautiful World” by Ai Maeda is okay.

Aside from that that, I ain’t got much left to say on Kino’s Journey. If it weren’t so passive in its, well just about everything it might have left me with some other impression. Something much more meaningful than “eh” by the end of it. The only noteworthy feature of Kino’s Journey (2003) are the ideas it brings up, but I’m sure you could find those same ideas executed better, and worse than what this anime could provide.

If I were to rate Kino’s Journey, I would rate this a 5 out of 10.

Some Thoughts On: March Comes In Like A Lion (2016) Season 1

On March 25, 2018 I completed the first season of an anime called March Comes In Like A Lion (3-gatsu no Lion), and it was a slough of an anime to get through. As usual, these entries are simply scattershot thoughts on a anime series I completed. They shouldn’t be treated as a review, even if I do give the anime a rating at the end of these blogs. I should fix that, but future me shall worry about that.

In short, March Comes In Like A Lion is a about a professional shogi player named Rei Kiriyama working out life issues…for the first half that is. Eventually turning into something else in the second half that is just as equally mixed in results, but minus as many jarring tonal shifts. As a drama, when the anime decides to be one, it can be rather good at points. My favorite moments in the anime are easily the more human moments in the series. Simple scenes like Rei crying in front a kindergartner when attending to her wound while simplistic gets along across a lot proficiently. Granted that moment got spoiled when a character explains it, but it’s a moment I consider a good example of its drama.

This post ended up longer than expected, so some random gifs to liven up the wall of text.

Another one of my favorite moment includes when Rei sister goes over to his apartment for the second time, and have a discussion about love. Followed by a great analogy how the tension in the room makes Rei feels like he’s sinking deeper into the bottom of the ocean together with his sister. Moments like these where the drama is allowed to be absorbed, and not be ruined by the over the top comedy are what I felt March Comes In Like A Lion should have attempted to capture more off. During these moments, I found myself engaged, and invested by what the characters were going through in their life. By the way it depicted, and developed the characters, the anime mostly didn’t feel overbearing into making me feel a certain emotion. Characters acted over the top, but never bordered in making any of them comedic relief. Clearly doing its best in providing all the characters a fair depiction while never overlooking their less favorable aspects. Heck, even the series most dislikable character, Masamune Gotou, isn’t made out to be a typical evil adult that anime typically makes for teenage led anime series.

My favorite character of the anime, as far as season 1 is concerned, is Rei’s teacher Takashi Hayashida. He felt the most balanced character in the anime never hurting the tone, and when the character was used for comedic effect it worked all the time. Takashi is presented as a goofball teacher who cares for Rei’s well being. So whenever he’s on screen he isn’t hurting the narrative in any form. Even when a scene with Takashi is strictly use for comedic purposes it usually involves him helping Rei with school related activities, or giving him life advice. Unlike the rest of the characters, Takashi doesn’t hide any of his issues behind his profession. Being a blunt character in the best possible way.

The other character I liked a lot, even though she could be a bitch, is Kyouko Kouda (Rei’s sister). Whenever it delved into her past, understanding why she acts negatively towards Rei while not excused comes off as reasonable from the way it’s written. It’s a complex past, along with the complex way Rei, and Kyouko feel about each other when they interact. Yet, it didn’t turn into a trainwreck. Too often in anime doing the “water under the bridge” between two character with a troubled history feels unearned in getting a resolution. In March Comes In Like A Lion, I won’t spoil if the messy family bond get fixed, but what it did with it worked exceptionally because it didn’t use any manipulative writing tricks.

I know, this looks cool.

The series delves into depression without ever going in the realm of silliness. Doing well in depicting how depression is an ongoing cycle that’s difficult to break, even when given support. Now given this, using over the top comedy to contrast Rei’s current mindset against the world he lives in on paper is fine. In the first episode, there was a jarring tonal shift since most of the episode is somber. However, I allowed it a free pass so to say on the jarring shift because it wasn’t preceded by a heavily dramatic scene. Unfortunately, it the rule that when a well written, heavily dramatic scene is finished it should be followed by a over the comedic scene. Yes, it often kills tension, and counteracts the dramatic aspect of the series.


For example, my least favorite episode of season 1 is easily episode 6 since it’s simply Rei Kiriyama pitying himself, and monologuing about his troubles for about 14 minutes. Man, was this boring because Rei’s says a lot, and little of what he says during those 14 minutes is meaningful. After a barrage of drama ending the episode with Rei taking Hinata (a middle schooler girl whose Rei’s friend) to eat a burger would have been a fine place to end the episode. Before the closing credits showed up, the somber mood was slowly transitioning from the barrage of snooze inducing self-pitying dialogue into a more balance tone. However, there were still about 3 minutes left ruining a generally downer of an episode with a over the top comedy scene. The final impression left on me is that it was funny, despite the barrage of dialogue of Rei issues.

Another thing the comedy negatively contribute are pointless additions to the anime. I also blame some of these on director Akiyuki Shinbou who kept them in for no good reason. One of these pointless addition is giving cats monologues. What’s the point of spending any sort of screen time hearing (or reading for you sub readers) the cats constantly screaming being hungry. This joke loses its luster after its done the fifth time, but kept in because why not. I’m sure a anime series that is filled with the brim of characters tackling personal, life, and family issues really needs cats to scream about wanting food.

This anime can have some great visuals when it wants too.

From a directing standpoint, there’s also bolds words that appear on screen for comedic effects. These bold words, and some chibi character usage, work well enough in the comedic scenes. Aside from it being expected, if it wanted too, it could also use those bold word effect for something else other than comedy. Like empathizing how a character sees a shogi move as a devastating action. Cats screaming in English (or whatever language you’re watching it in) about wanting food doesn’t have multiple purposes for an anime that wants to be a good drama.

When it comes to direction of Akiyuki Shinbo it’s usually fine. I just wish it wasn’t as obvious at points in the anime when Shinbo felt uninspired, or disinterested in the material. One thing that isn’t consistent, besides the jarring tonal shift, are the visual analogies. They appear infrequently in the anime making their usage be more desired. The visual analogy work, like when Rei faces off against Shimada at his house, and seeing a visuals of strong currents rushing towards him while playing shogi gets across the intensity Rei feels in a match. If used more consistently it would have had a more consistent visual style for the entire season.

Another issue is a tendency to have dialogue be a deterrent to his visual storytelling. Like Rei seeing a nature program about Cuckoo birds, and learns how the Cuckoo bird surrogate parents keep feeding them even though they already out grew their nest. This is preceded by Rei’s backstory which I can’t get into because spoilers, ah. Now, when Rei saw the Cuckoo bird program, making a connection that how he saw himself by the impression he made was easy to connect. It was subtle, until the point Rei himself spells it out for the viewer. This happens repeatedly through the series. It works as much as it fails so it wavers in quality.

The writing is simply bad because it’s unfocus. While it does characterization well, it’s obvious it has too many characters, and doesn’t know what to do with them. There’s several supporting characters in the first half that are largely absent in the second half. Forgetting about them as easily as Rei has. Making it central theme about family sticking together in the first half ultimately feels hollow when it ends up nowhere. For about the last 6 episodes, it forgets that the central character should be Rei, and focuses on a character named Shimada for the majority of those episodes. Since it actually went somewhere meaningful forgiving the lack of a direction is forgiven. However, it’s not overlooked since even subplots, like one revolving around Hinata having a crush on a boy, and Rei befriending that boy simply just end despite how much time it dedicates to them.

Don’t worry, you don’t need context.

On the technical side of things it’s competent. There’s nothing impressive generally about the animation until it does a visual analogies for some memorable imagery. Voice acting in the English dub is good, and I needed it to get through episodes 6, and 11 because if I saw these two episodes sub I would have fallen asleep. Music is fine, but the first opening, and first ending song are by Bump of Chicken are pretty good. As opposed to the 2nd opening track of the anime that’s easily the weakest piece of music in the series, but then pulls a 180 with a song by Kenshi Yonezu called Orion which is great. Then again, that’s just simply the Kenshi Yonezu fanboy in me loving to listen to his stuff whenever it appears.

Aside from characters, and characterization everything else in the anime just feels competently made. It’s a messy type of competent where one moment it grips you, and another moment completely loses your attention. When it wants to be it’s a good drama without eliciting any emotion from the viewer with any cheap writing tricks. At it worse, it’s simply an overbearing comedy that deteriorates the impact of the drama with a lack of focus that can’t handle the many subplots it wants. However, it’s those good dramatic moments that got me through to the end. It’s those scenes that kept me coming back regardless of its subject matter because it was compelling. If it means putting up with a overall sloppy package of an anime I’ll more than gladly put up with the some of its parts for the good stuff. It is nonetheless a disappointing watch. Ain’t no changing that.

If I were to rate March Comes In Like A Lion, I would give it a 6 out 10.


Some Thoughts On: Hell Girl (2005 – 2006) Season 1

So on March 4, 2018 I finally finished the first season of an anime series called Hell Girl. Needless to say since a review of any kind is currently out of the question sharing some general thoughts on the first season would be fine for an anime post. It’ll also help me collect some quick thoughts of mine for the first season since right now my feelings on Hell Girl is scattershot.

Hell Girl is an episodic anime that for the first half focuses on Hell Girl dealing in a business to seek vengeance for its clients. Hell Girl clients are given a straw doll with a red thread around its neck, and if pulled the person they seek vengeance on will go to Hell. However, the subject also seeking vengeance will also go to Hell after they die. The second half of Hell Girl involves a permanent character in Hajime, a freelance reporter attempting to put a stop to Hell Girl divine punishment on those who seek it.

The premise was instantly alluring to me. Seeing what kind scenarios; both the silly, and serious, would be presented to me was a joy to experience. Offering not so much variety in the kind of characters it depicted. Early on in Hell Girl, it uses simple archetypes to make sure you sympathize for the person seeking vengeance leading to many who die early on being one dimensional. Doesn’t help matter either when some of them are just cartoonishly evil, like in one episode a woman drowns puppies. Yep, it’ll scoop to that level sometime to make viewers sympathize with the person seeking vengeance. This eventually changes as the series goes on, but early on the cartoonish, repetitive nature of these characters is still felt.

Everytime it showed someone death scene it was amusing to say the least. None of these death scenes are scary as 24 minutes is not enough time for this series to be scary. A couple of brief minutes to have Hell Girl, and The Three Straws (Hell Girl’s partners basically) to take a soul won’t set up a fearful atmosphere. It will give you some silly moments, like episode 6 death scene which hysterically boils down to shaming a person to death. There also episode 18 providing the sight of seeing a car driven by Dog people with a giant baby on top driving a woman to Hell will have you saying “what the Hell did I see”. While the “horrific” scenarios in how these people get killed off are silly the backstory behind them can be taken seriously. While it’s odd that mostly women use the website Hell Correspondence to contact Hell Girl for vengeance it does offer a good framing device to tackle to briefly touch on a variety of life’s conflicts.

Some of these life conflicts are decently explored, like in episode 10 a young schoolgirl is contemplating if her best friend whose currently neglecting her should be send to Hell. There’s also episode 19 where a young bride to be is being treated like doll against her wishes. Episode 19 does a good job making the viewer sympathize with its subject of suffering by not going overboard with its usual tricks. These episodes add to the anime ongoing discussion on vengeance to be viewed much more broadly. Unlike the first 9-ish episodes, the later half of the series begin to ponder the question if revenge is worth it regardless of the price.

Hell Girl doesn’t develop it’s recurring characters in charge of taking souls to Hell. Choosing instead to have it spotlight regularly on characters whom only make a single appearance in the series, and making their subject of vengeance easily hateable. Plaguing Hell Girl with an abundance of cartoonishly cruel people that negatively contrast with its mostly understated execution. Leading to both genuinely entertaining, and engaging moment to the equally unintentional hilarity of the tone quickly flipping the switch. It’s not until the final episodes that the title character herself finally receives some characterization. At that point it’s too late for anything substantially meaningful to be done with Ai Enma, but at the same time that’s what the other seasons are for. I’m hoping so at least because I have not seen them yet.

In terms of variety there are the nice break up of characters who get send to Hell by including some characters that attempt to make this sort of judgement seem grayish, but don’t happen frequently enough to even make up 1/4th of the total episodes in a 26 episode anime. The times the subject of vengeance who aren’t cartoonishly evil are refreshing, and allows the characters to talk about revenge, and Hell in a slightly broader sense. Some interesting questions, like in one episode it’s briefly discussed if Hell itself can be a paradise, are only brought up, and aren’t delved into beyond the surface level. If these sort of questions were given more exploration than overlooking some of its faulty character writing would have been easier to do. Also, the few actiony moments, like Hell Girl & the Three Straws battling what’s essentially a Ghost, or  seeing Hell Girl getting tossed around like a doll by Hellboy (not to be confused with the Mike Mignola creation) are a odd edition to the anime. Hell Girl, for the most part, underplays some of its more fantastical elements so when it goes for something without restraint it goes against the general intent of the anime direction.

For my first time watching the anime series I went for the English dub. I typically don’t consider the thought of viewing an anime when seeing it for the first time. Like with everything, it simply depends on my mood at the time. Sometime I’m want to watch an anime with the English dub, and sometime I don’t. With Hell Girl season 1, I saw the entire series with the English dub. Performances wise, there isn’t any actor among the voice cast that I felt stood out in any significant way.

If I had to choose one who stood out it would be John Burgmeier who voices Hajime Shibata in the English dub offers the best acting among his peers. This is wholly contributed to the fact his character receives the most characterization, and displays various emotions during his journey to stop Hell Girl from taking more people to Hell. Allowing Burgmeier to make Hajime ideals come across genuine when delivery speeches about how revenge is wrong on multiple occasions. From the onset, Burgmeier just clicks with his character perfectly. Hajime ideals are challenged, and explored as the anime goes on. Once Hajime comes into the anime, it carries with it a new repetitive nature, but also the dramatic, and thematic core that makes it work. He talks about the futility of vengeance to those who seek it in various conflicting viewpoints, and also witnesses the consequences of both routes.

Simply put, I liked Hell Girl season 1, even if it was formulaic/repetitive for more than half of its run. What kept me coming back to Hell Girl besides the allure of the title character herself were sometimes the story it told. I found it amusing to come back to the series whenever I did just to witness what kind of cheap trick it would pull to elicit an emotion from the viewer. The series biggest drawback is regularly having cartoonish writing, and imagery when attempting to create a serious anime. Hell Girl is an anime that demands you to take it seriously despite the silly visuals at times. Thankfully, the silly imagery isn’t a mainstay. Unfortunately, the cartoonish writing is a mainstay becoming a detriment for its entire run. Giving Hell Girl a B-movie type of horror movie quality to it. I was entertained through the entire run, and sometime engaged whenever it didn’t show Hell Girl take someone to Hell. It was a messy anime to get through, but I came out more positively on it even though it negatives strongly stick out.

Rating wise, I would give Hell Girl season one a 7 out of 10.