From the Archives: Mirai Nikki Review

 70373 Title  Mirai Nikki
Episodes  26
Released  October, 2011
Genre(s) Thriller, Supernatural, Psychological, Mystery
Studio  Asread
Reviewer  Daniel
AniDB
MyAnimeList
Kitsu

NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 11th February, 2015. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

So this is one anime I use to show people how good the entire anime genre can be. I don’t say this lightly. There are a handful of anime that have really stood out in my time and few have made me love, and hate the same people as often as Mirai Nikki did. If I had to sum it up, it’d be an underrated masterpiece. The sadistic story, the sudden plot twists and the expendable characters all make for an addictive watch. You won’t need to force yourself to watch a few episodes to get into the swing of it.

mirai_nikki21

The plot revolves around a young boy called Yuki, who is by all means, average. Until one day, his diary in his phone, starts generating entries ahead of time. Before long, the viewer is introduced to other diary owners, who all are getting future diary entries. The plot comes thick and fast as the entire thing devolves into alternating between an intriguing story and a bloody battle royal. Fans of fast paced action will feel right at home, and you’ll be stuck guessing right up until the end how it all goes down.

mirai-nikki-full-10927361

While the story is amazing, and the action incredible, there is one place I found mildly lacklustre. Mirai Nikki’s ending leans heavily to the paranormal towards the end. This intensely satisfying depiction of a battle between ugly humans in an imperfect world is derailed by the ending being, for me, a little too magical. While the unexplained definitely has a place, I feel the show used it as a crutch to carry it towards what could have been a mindblowing ending. Still though, 9/10 for me.

 

Advertisements

From the Archives: Psycho-Pass Review

 93800 Title  Psycho-Pass
Episodes  22
Released  October, 2012
Genre(s)  Action, Cyberpunk, Dystopia, Law and Order
Studio  Production I.G.
Reviewer  Chris
AniDB
MyAnimeList
Kitsu

NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 14th August, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

The Story

Psycho-Pass is a near-future anime set in a cyberpunk world, where society has advanced to the point where it is possible to predict an individuals state of mind, and their likelihood of performing a crime, before they themselves are even aware they could become a criminal. This is done by taking a measurement of two things, a persons “Hue” or a gradient of color that represents their state of mind. And secondly, a “Crime Coefficient”, which is a numerical value. Upon reaching a high enough number, you are considered a latent criminal. And are subject to on the spot enforcement action.

The enforcement is carried out by police teams that consist of Inspectors, and Enforcers. Or as they are commonly referred to in the show, “Handlers, and Hunting Dogs”. The name fits, as Enforcers are actually latent criminals, who upon reaching a crime-coefficient deemed too high to exist safely in society, offer themselves to protect the exact society they have been shunned from. And in return, they are left to live a relatively simple life, while under the constant supervision of the Inspectors of course.

commie-psycho-pass-01-f4bcfb1e-mkv_snapshot_05-29_2013-08-14_20-40-06

There is a system that determines peoples crime co-efficient, called the “Sibyl System”. This can be best described as a huge network of monitors through the city, which are constantly scanning peoples crime-coefficients. And if a high number is detected, the Enforcers are dispatched to eliminate the threat – before it even becomes one.

The investigators and enforcers carry special weapons, called Dominators, or “Sibyl’s Eyes”. They can take readings of the targets crime co-efficient, and Sibyl itself will change the weapons firing mode to one that befits the situation. There are three modes, Non-Lethal Paralyser, Lethal Eliminator, and Destroy Decomposer.

commie-psycho-pass-01-f4bcfb1e-mkv_snapshot_17-57_2013-08-14_20-40-45

The story follows a new Inspector, strait out of training and thrown into the field. She has a number of Enforcers under her command, and the show follows her investigations into numerous crimes. Some much worse than others.

The Characters

Akane Tsunemori – The protagonist and lead female of the show. Recently assigned to work in the Public Safety Bureau. An overly polite woman, who as the show goes on proves to be a very talented inspector, despite her shortcomings in the earlier episodes. As a lead she has great development through the show.

commie-psycho-pass-01-f4bcfb1e-mkv_snapshot_20-53_2013-08-14_20-40-31

Nobuchika Ginoza – The senior inspector that works along side Akane, he is very strict, and stubbornly refuses to have any close relations with the enforcers under his command, for fear of clouding his Hue. Similar to Akane however, he develops a great deal through the show, and becomes quite likable towards the end.
Tomomi Masaoka – A senior Enforcer, Masaoka is laid back and tends to accept things as they are, great amounts of Maturity are displayed in this character, and his ability to see reason in almost all situations is an admirable trait.
commie-psycho-pass-04-f79c11d9-mkv_snapshot_09-47_2013-08-14_20-48-44

Shinya Kougami – Kougami is a very talented enforcer, his ability to keep a level head, and what can best be described as Instinct, allow him to solve the most difficult of cases, other enforcers are both impressed and concerned, as the methods he takes are sometimes very risky.

Shuusei Kagari – A young enforcer, flagged as a latent criminal at a very young age, Kagari has known no other life besides the one he is currently living. Despite this though, he is very carefree, and loves to joke around with his colleagues. Kagari is my personal favorite in this show, he has a great outlook on life.

Shogo Makishima – The main antagonist of the show, Makishima is a man hopelessly in love with cruelty, and takes great pride in the suffering of others. He has his own idea of an Ideal World, and will stop at nothing to achieve this. Cold and intelligent. Ruthless and cunning. He was fantastic to watch. As antagonists go Makishima belongs up there with the best.

commie-psycho-pass-07-78ac663e-mkv_snapshot_16-11_2013-08-14_20-47-54

Sound and Animation

Both the OP and ED music may seem average at first, however after watching them a few times they really grew on me. Turning them from better than average to ones I will remember for a long time, particularly the second opening.

Multiple band’s contributed to the soundtrack to this show, with the lead titles being;

Opening 1 – Abnormalize, by Ling Toshite Shigure
Opening 2 – Out of Control, by Nothing’s Carved In Stone
End 1 – Namae no Nai Kaibutsu, by EGOiST
End 2 – All Alone With You, by EGOiST

The backing music played through the show consisted of some great rock tunes, and addictive guitar solo’s. The fight music complimented the action greatly, making it very entertaining to watch.

commie-psycho-pass-05-d67745f5-mkv_snapshot_19-07_2013-08-14_20-44-34

Production I.G did a great job matching the art and animation with the theme of the show. The art style of the show is quite dark, and can even come across as depressing at times. Which was in no doubt deliberate, as the subject matter of the show is very dark. Animation quality is very nice, particularly the 3D style used on the Dominators, every time one of those things changed its mode was exceptionally pretty to watch.

Overall

I really enjoyed my time with Psycho-Pass, this one goes on the “Mature” list, as it definitely takes itself very seriously, and with good reason, some of the crimes presented in this show can be quite disturbing, definitely not one for the younger audience.

That being said, I loved every episode, the pacing was great, the characters were presented very well, and the setting and story in general were really entertaining.

This is two thumbs up from me, it deserves a spot in your collection.

commie-psycho-pass-01-f4bcfb1e-mkv_snapshot_07-49_2013-08-14_20-39-16

 

From the Archives: Suisei no Gargantia Review (First 10)

 133981 Title  Suisei no Gargantia
Episodes  13
Released  March, 2013
Genre(s)  Action, Adventure, Mecha, Sci-Fi
Studio  Production I.G.
Reviewer  Daniel
AniDB
MyAnimeList
Kitsu

NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 14th June, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

NB2: This is a review based on the first 10 episodes of this series, and only the first 10 episodes.

Suisei no Gargantia is promising. Possibly the most promising anime I’ve seen in a while. The beginning of the storyline drops you right in the heat of a conflict between humanity and an alien race. At a glance it’s interesting but you know it’s been done countless times before in SciFi. What sets this apart is that the plot segways back to primitive earth. The idea of a super power in primitive times is similiar to Hellsing where the lead character has unlimited destructive power and it’s only artificial constraints holding him back.

8410206051_4cf3666f15_o

While the series is still relatively fresh, the quality is amazing. High definition artwork, in a scifi setting can be mindblowing and that’s exactly what Suisei no Gargantia is going for. While the depicted architecture is impractical and cumbersome, the artists really capture that sense of a long lost human race that has branched off. In some ways it’s a vanilla “outsider adapts to new community” show but there’s the real potential for an amazing plotline and character development.

suisei-no-gargantia-09

One of the unique twists I found in this series was the dialogue. As our lead is from a very different branch of humanity, you would expect him not to speak the same language as the remaining humans. And he doesn’t. The subbers over at Commie Subs do a fantastic job of keeping it feeling the same way it sounds. The basis is that when a person from a different viewpoint to the person your watching speaks, it is portrayed to the viewer as gibberish. This leads to some awesome miscommunications and some amazing thought provoking situations you can really relate to. My favourite being where the lead character kidnaps a girl for negotiation and his translator lets him know the girl has mentioned the sanctity of excrement and commented on his mothers sexual preferences.

suisei-no-gargantia-full-1434511

In summary, this show is leading us down one of two paths. I feel it will either be the best next gen anime or a huge disappointment. Either way I’m looking forward to where it takes us in the immediate future.

From the Archives: Un-Go Review

 85906 Title  Un-Go
Episodes  11
Released  October, 2011
Genre(s) Crime, Mystery, Fantasy, Supernatural
Studio  Bones
Reviewer  Chris
AniDB
MyAnimeList
Kitsu

NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 9th June, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

I have been watching quite a few crime anime’s recently, Un-Go found its way onto my list, while it is very short it is also very entertaining. Picking this up now that the OVA was released is a good idea, the OVA happens to be a prequel, or “Episode zero”, I strongly recommend watching this before watching the rest of the series, it has some pretty important back story, that will give a bit more depth to what happens in the series.

The story follows a detective called Yuuki Shinjuurou, and his partner Inga (or “Boss”, as Yuuki refers to her as). And their escapades as a private detective duo.

zurako_un-go_00_inga-ron_bd_720p_aac_57dd59d6-mkv_snapshot_22-02_2013-06-09_21-34-34
Dude, you’re bleeding.

Yuuki has a sharp eye and a interest for the most difficult of mysteries, he does the job not only to help others, but also for the thrill of discovering the absolute truth. Inga however is a special case, i will not describe what makes her special, you will need to watch and see, I will give one thing away however, Inga can ask a question, one absolute question, and the one being asked has no choice but to reply with the absolute truth, what their very soul believes. Inga… feeds on these souls.

zurako_un-go_03v2_bd_720p_aac_a13d2d3b-mkv_snapshot_18-57_2013-06-09_21-13-39
Pictured: Normal

With a lot of cloak and dagger the show keeps you thinking all the time, what possible twists and turns can it take next, everything you would expect from a show in the mystery genre, but with a nice dark fantasy twist.

Soundtrack is decent enough, nothing that stands out but it fits quite well, animation and art style are very nice on the eye, it is a pretty looking show. The story is the main seller on this one though, its not very long or in depth, however I watched it almost start to finish, its very entertaining, leaves you wanting more, I think its because of how interesting the two main characters are, Inga in particular.

zurako_un-go_04v2_bd_720p_aac_17b73b2a-mkv_snapshot_10-08_2013-06-09_21-28-49
*Squeeze*

I enjoyed my time with Un-Go, however brief it was. Its difficult to pull off a memorable show with only 11 episodes, but this is one that managed it. It should find a place on your watch list.

From the Archives: Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting! Review

 2025 Title Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting!
Episodes  75
Released  October, 2000
Genre(s)  Sports, Drama, Comedy
Studio  Madhouse
Reviewer  Chris
AniDB
MyAnimeList
Kitsu

NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 27th April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

This is one of the few anime’s that i find myself watching scenes from again and again, the sound assets in combination with the animation make this show a thrill to watch, and you can feel the punches as a result. I would definitely recommend watching this with a good set of speakers, and the volume up a decent amount. When a punch lands, it is a punch thrown by someone hell bent on breaking a face.

If you want to see an example, I will link one, please be warned though this can be considered spoiler, watch at your own risk: click here.

hajime-no-ippo-round-44-mkv_snapshot_17-48_2013-04-27_19-31-13
Did someone get the number of that truck?

Now, lets delve into the story a bit, being a 75 episode series there is a lot of character development (and back muscle development), I will give you a bit of an introduction.

The story focuses on an upcoming boxer named Ippo Makunouchi, from his very first punch all the way to his title debut. He is joined by fellow senior boxers Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura. As well as various others. The head coach and founder of the Kamogawa Gym is Genji Kamogawa.

Ippo was always the subject of bullying at school, and one day in particular he was getting beaten up under a bridge, when Takamura appears, swiftly deals with the bullys, and takes the unconscious ippo back to the Kamogawa Gym. Upon waking up ippo takes a good look at his surroundings, and is in awe of what he sees, professional boxers beating the crap out of sandbags.

Takamura proceeds to put a picture of the school bullys onto one of these bags and tells Ippo to throw a punch. His first of many. Although he has a long way to go, Takamura has set Ippo on the path of a professional boxer. A professional face breaking boxer.

hajime-no-ippo-round-74-mkv_snapshot_08-29_2013-04-27_20-04-13
Its fine, you weren’t that pretty anyway.

The show does a really good job of showing what it is really like being a professional boxer, the gruelling training, the unbelievably strict diets, and the physical strain of putting your body through so much.

There is a lot of comedy as well, as it cant all be action, these scenes break up the flow and give you something else to watch, before another round of punches, its not the best comedy around, but I feel it was a necessary addition to keep things interesting over such a long watch.
If i was to complain about one thing it would probably be the pacing, there are some parts that seem to drag on for a while, and the freaking flashbacks didn’t help matters, a single fight can span several episodes, on the other hand though I guess this adds a lot of tension when the blows finally connect.
hajime-no-ippo-round-31-mkv_snapshot_08-03_2013-04-27_20-17-33
Gomu gomu no….
Once again, one of my favourite shows, the intro song will forever be stuck in my head, and I will keep re-watching the scenes that highlight ippo’s face breaking skills, but lets not forget that liver blow, the rib shattering liver blow.
I’ll stop there, otherwise I’ll go on all night. Add it to your watch list if it even interests you a little bit, you won’t be disappointed.

From the Archives: Denno Coil Review

 12844l Title Denno Coil
Episodes 26
Released May, 2007
Genre(s) Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Studio  Madhouse
Reviewer  Daniel
AniDB
MyAnimeList
Kitsu

NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 24th April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

I don’t quite know how to how to describe Dennou coil to the uninitiated. I first saw it at an SupaNova in Perth (screening in one of the theaters at the showgrounds). It was hot as hell and I sat down in one of the shitty plastic seats and was instantly captivated.
goodbye-satchii
This show is unlike any other, in the same way Stein’s Gate is unique and beautiful. The story follows a young girl called Yuko in the very near future. A technology not unlike google glass (augmented reality) has allowed children to interact with the world around them in unique ways. This covers everything from owning Tamagotchi like pets, to casting code based spells.
I usually dedicate a paragraph to how I feel the art style works in an anime. Dennou Coil has the luxury of being totally unique. The art style is solid for an Anime, but where it really shines is the glitch art. If you don’t know what that is – check it out here. Glitch art is where an image has been manipulated to look like it’s broken and it translates perfectly for a show based on an augmented reality.
2104852-20_2

The show features a host of loveable characters (for me a tossup between Yuko’s younger sister who points at everything and shouts “POOP” and Yuko’s grandmather called, fittingly, megagranny who makes a living off of selling illegal cyber-goods to midschoolers). They seem real, tangible and funny all at the same time. Though the show does touch on a few more serious issues like death, caring for sick loved ones, revenge, losing friends – it doesn’t dwell on them.

If I had to describe watching Dennou Coil, I’d have to say it’s like the difference between eating Cadbury and Lindt chocolate. Cadbury is good, but Lindt has layers of softness, sweetness and subtlety that you didn’t even know you were missing out on until you had it. This makes it one of the better ones to introduce non-hardcore fans of Anime to, as it’s a delightful show that doesn’t cease to amaze in depth of character or animation style.

This is one of the few shows I plan on watching again.

Trivia:
  • Written and directed by one of the lead artists (Mitsuo Iso) on Anime such as: Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL, Perfect Blue and Ghost in the Shell.
  • Japan Media Arts Festival awarded it an “Excellence Prize” along with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann in 2007.
  • The lead voice actor for Yuko (Fumiko Orikasa)  also voices Rukia Kuchiki from a little known anime called Bleach.

 

From the Archives: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic Review

 magi-the-labyrinth-of-magic-full-1262836 Title Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Episodes  25
Released October, 2012
Genre(s) Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Magic
Studio  A-1 Pictures
Reviewer  Daniel
AniDB
MyAnimeList
Kitsu

NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 15th April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

For anyone that actually checks out previews (retrospectively, while doing research for this review, I have) – this show lives up to everything it promises. The amazingly fluid animation that translates so well into combat, the immersive storytelling and the amazing characters make this an already good watch.
For me, this series has a lot in common with Full Metal Alchemist (FMA). It tackles an adult’s world with pure ideals (Elric anyone?) and delivers exceptionally on every front.

magi-06
The story centres around this trio

I fell in love with the art almost instantly. I looked around for pictures of this on the net and they come across as unnecessarily effeminate (seriously, these were the most hardcore ones, the others are here). Stills of the anime translate poorly and it’s really only in combat that the style shines – again reminiscent of FMA where the action scenes were AWESOME.

The introduction to the world and history is seamless and there’s none of the shonky – explain-the-way-this-ability-works charts that have become all too familiar with Naruto. I love the way they feed you little bits at a time and you piece the clues together like a depraved story hungry nerd.

The story follows a young magi by the name of Aladdin. He uses his flying carpet and genie to assist his friends. Slowly he meets new friends (many of which are named after other famous heroes from 1000 nights) on his journey that help reveal the purpose of these ancient “Dungeons” and Aladdin’s role among the new world.

The slow immersion of the series is one of the things I really appreciated, and I think explaining too much would damage that process.

All in all, I found this a very exciting watch. I think that if you warmed up to FMA easily, this is the Anime for you. I believe this series will only grow in popularity as more and more people want to see how our young Aladdin fairs at turning the tides of evil back.