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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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*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.

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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.

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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.
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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: Jormungand Review

 85646 Title  Jormungand
Episodes  24
Released  April, 2012
Genre(s)  Action, Military, War
Studio  White Fox
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 11th April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

Ooh now we’re getting into the good stuff, lots of guns, lots of explosions, and one hell of a lead character, its time for a Jormungand review.

This show starts by introducing a boy called Jonah, he has been recruited into the bodyguard of a young Arms Dealer called Koko Hekmatyar. Everyone in this unit has had military or police experience, and that includes Jonah, he was orphaned and forced to fight in a war in Israel, and subjected to everything that goes with being a child soldier. That includes watching his friends sent away to probe for land mines, and never returning.

He has a heart of ice due to this upbringing, and hates everything to do with weapons and war, despite being  very skilled in combat himself. Ironic that he now travels with and protects an arms dealer.

The rest of Koko’s team consists of some great characters, all with unique skills and personalities, there was not a single one I did not like.

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Particularly Jonah, dont fuck with Jonah.

I want to talk about Koko herself, because she is the lead character I mentioned at the start. Koko is perhaps the best lead female I have seen in any anime. She is smart and methodical, and everything goes in the direction she wishes. When the situation requires it, she is cold and unyielding, other times she opens up to her colleagues (particularly Jonah) and shows her lighter, happier side.

She is brilliant from start to end.

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Pictured: Badass

As the show goes on you are shown a side of war that is rarely shown, the idea of war profiteering. Being an Arms Dealer, Koko and her team have the power to shift wars in one direction or another, not by choice however it is the bi-product of the business, like it or not the equipment they sell has one purpose – killing other people.

She is pursued by governments, as almost everything they do is illegal, and by other arms dealers, who see her as competition. The story really picks up through season 2, giving even more development to the already well established characters.

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And the darker side of people themselves.

This is one of the anime’s that falls into the “mature” category, it possesses some real world issues and does not mess around. It leaves you with a burning moral question, just how much are you willing to sacrifice for the greater good?

From the Archives: Angel Beats Review

 22062 Title  Angel Beats!
Episodes  13
Released  March, 2010
Genre(s) Action, Drama, School, Supernatural, Tragedy
Studio  P.A. Works
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 April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

This shows soundtrack is one of the best I have heard. Sadly the show is a bit of a roller-coaster with its ups and downs but I’ll get to that, I just wanted to point out the music because it is god damn amazing.

The show was created by the same guy (Maeda Jun is his name) that had a major hand in Clannad and Clannad After Story, the only anime to date that has made me feel genuinely sad, im talking crying sad, it was that moving. Now Angel beats on the other hand, the spark is there, but it just feels like it could have been so much more,especially considering the other works this studio has put out.

The story begins with the main character Yuzuru Otonashi waking up and realising that he has died and has passed onto the afterlife, a world that limbos between the world of the living and heaven. Essentially it is a place where people who have not accomplished everything they wanted to in life end up, and cannot move on without completing what their heart desires.

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For example, I desire the soundtrack.

There are other people here who do not wish to pass on to heaven, and will do everything in their power to remain in the afterlife. They formed a group called the Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battlefront), in order to defeat an angel sent by god to “erase” them. This angel is the antagonist of the series, however I use that word loosely, you will understand why later in the show.

One of the highlights of this show, as i have already pointed out twice now, is its soundtrack, another would have to be the visuals, while not amazing tier they are nice to watch, especially if you pick yourself up a 1080p version.

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There was an awesome song in the background here too, just FYI.

I don’t want to say any more on the story because it progresses very well and i don’t want to spoil it for anyone, take my word on it though the ending is worthwhile, it is reminiscent of clannad, at least in the emotions it invokes.

My complaint with this series is that beyond the really good start and amazing end, the middle is just.. meh. Don’t get me wrong it is still a great watch but im not going to give it any praise in the story department, except for the flashbacks to the main characters past, which show the events leading up to his death and passing to the afterlife. Oh and the last couple of episodes of course, which made the whole series worthwhile.

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And the soundtrack.

TLDR: Short, enjoyable, with a tragic twist, and amazing soundtrack.

From the Archives: Binbougami ga! Review

 binbougami-ga-cover Title  Binbougami ga!
Episodes  13
Released  July, 2012
Genre(s)  Comedy, Parody, Supernatural
Studio  Sunrise
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 5th April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

Now here is an anime that went under the radar, unfortunately so, because it is actually a very enjoyable watch. The story begins with a young woman by the name of Sakura Ichiko, who just so happens to have un-natural levels of good fortune, so much so that it is upsetting the balance of fortune, and she is unintentionally sucking all the good fortune from people around her.

This brings me to the second character, the antagonist of the series, a god of misfortune called Binbada Momiji, she has been sent to earth to restore the balance of fortune, by forcibly withdrawing Sakura’s fortune. With a giant needle of all things. And so begins the fight to the death between Sakura and Binbada!

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MORTAAAL COMBAAAT!!!
Not really, but it might as well have been, they have the typical over the top brawls that would outright kill a normal person, but hey, anime.
Surprisingly enough this action and comedy is occasionally broken up by some pretty serious stuff, mostly for plot and character development, but it is very well done, unfortunately these scenes are few and far between, it could have really used more.

 

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Hang on, wasn’t this a comedy?
Luckily the series knows what it wants to be, it is a comedy at heart and it nails it. It introduces some extra characters pretty early on including a perverted holy man, and a masochistic dog god. The interactions between these two are great.
There are a lot of references and parodies of other anime, including some of the greats like Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, and Naruto. I guarantee you the one piece one will at the very least put a giant grin on your face.

 

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Ah, there’s the comedy.

Being only 12 episodes, this is a perfect weekend show, the dedicated can get through it in one sitting. I definitely recommend giving it a shot, it was one of the ones that surprised me, I went into it with low expectations and even the first episode had me hooked, it is actually pretty damn good.

In summary, a very impressive and well done comedy, I enjoyed it greatly.