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: 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: 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.

From the Archives: Gin Tama Review

 10038l Title  Gin Tama
Episodes  201 + 51
Released  December, 2003
Genre(s) Action, Comedy, Parody, Historical, Sci-Fi
Studio  Sunrise
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 7th April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

Before I begin reviewing this in earnest  I just wanted to say that this is one of the few anime’s that has had my crying in laughter, twice.

Gin Tama is one of those series that is really challenging to explain to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I usually end up trailing off, trying to explain that there’s a samurai, aliens and it’s all based on the Edo period. This is often followed by people giving me weird looks and occasionally the understanding pat on the back “must be tough to be you buddy.” It’s a bizarre mix of fantasy, scifi and comedy that frequently smashes down the fourth wall.

gintama1
I’m noticing a pattern with their behaviour…

The story focuses on Gintama (the main character), who’s a lazy, self centered, yorozuya (jack of all trades). He has two sidekicks, the nerdy otaku Shinpachi, who is a samurai in training and the loud, inhumanly strong Kagura, who is an alien from another planet. We follow this trio on their myriad of odd jobs and debacles. The story arcs are strangely compelling and the odd few serious episodes add to the overall effect the series has as an outstanding comedy.

gintamaend_jpg_650x10000_q85
They just saw you naked!

The show is constantly referring back to it’s Manga roots, and Jump background. It feels like the writers know their audience well and they exploit it and I find it rare to be so invested in a comedy but with over 200 episodes, Gintama will not be finished within the week.

This is one of those oddly compelling watches that you just can’t stop eating up. The main director, Shinji Takamatsu has created one of the funniest oddball series in the last decade.

From the Archives: Samurai Champloo Review

 11855 Title  Samurai Champloo
Episodes  26
Released  May, 2004
Genre(s)  Action, Adventure, Comedy, Historical
Studio  Mangalobe
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 3rd April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.

Samurai Champloo is a fantastic blend of pop culture and the Edo period. The characters dynamics are very finely balanced and the writers did an excellent job at developing the relationships between them. The two leads are a unique take on a classic tale of the cold and calculating mixing with the hot headed and rash.

Samurai Champloo’s storyline is paced maturely and there’s only one or two fillers, but they liven it up so effectively that you tend to not mind. I found a really nice meld of humour and drama that’s topped off with a garnish of hip-hop/pop. There are lots of comparisons online between this and Cowboy Bebop for a reason.

I highly recommend this to everyone, especially those who want to see the second best English voice acting I’ve ever seen in an anime.