Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tokyo Godfathers

 
Not a series, but a movie, Tokyo Godfathers is from the same man that brought us such classics as Paranoia Agent, Millenium Actress, and Paprika. though Satoshi Kon is now sadly dead, his work lives on in those gorgeous epics and this cozy piece about a group of 3 homeless chums who find an abandoned newborn on Christmas. the eldest, Gin, says they should take it to the police. the youngest, Miyuki, agrees somewhat, but the middle, Hana, wants to fulfill his dream of being a mother, while at the same time try to give some comfort to the little girl, who they call Kiyoko ("pure child", for "the purest day of the year"), so Christmas won't be regarded as her worst day of the year. with the child is a key to a train station locker, which sets the trio on one of the craziest adventures of their lives as they learn about life, love, and what it means to be a family.
 
If you like cats, sooner or later you'll end up a crazy cat lady.
 
Tokyo Godfathers is done in a more realistic style than most anime i've seen. it retains that uniquely anime feel about it, perhaps due to larger eyes than realism, but all the same it has an air not seen in other anime movies such as Studio Ghibli films or the works of Hosoda Mamoru (Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). most of the scenes take place at night, and all of it is set in Tokyo, casting a cold-yet-warm glow over everything that makes it all look like a watercolour painting. the neon-tinted landscape is speckled with snow and unique characters, from the forgiving taxi driver to Hana's drag mother. through it all they are running, yelling, chasing, and hiding till they find Kiyoko's mother, to the crazy, brash soundtrack


Don't lean your head out at speeds like this unless you have experience! Take it from me, someone who does!
.
Tokyo Godfathers might be too mature for kids, so projected audience here is 12 and over (ideally 15 and over). the movie can be a little surreal at times, so don't take anything too literally/seriously. however, if you want a christmasy movie that isn't Home Alone 2, this is a great alternative.
 
Might be a Japanese Christmas, but it's still Christmas.
 
Tokyo Godfathers is available to torrent via google search, and is licensed by Destination Films in the US.
 
Ka-reeepy.
 
4/5

Chrome Shelled Regios

 
Chrome Shelled Regios is a 24-episode series that came out in 2009. it follows Layfon Alseif in his move to a new Regios called Zuellni. a Regios is a type of domed city on legs that wanders the acrid planet's landscape, keeping its citizens alive with clean air and by avoiding Contaminoids, super-powered bugs that inhabit the planet outside the Regios. the series is based off an ongoing series of light novels, and also includes several manga series

Electronic Spirits like this one are what make the Regios run. This is Zuellni.

Opening the series is a battle between a group of 3 elite warriors and a Contaminoid. each swing and slash and battle cry cements this series as wholeheartedly action. the futuristic weapons and special powers (such as the strings of energy used to attack the creature, made of a substance called Kei) make this very shonen in nature as well. as the series progresses, we have plenty of doses of comedy, mostly of the physical type (damn that girl has some sharp boots and a fierce kick), but there are enough laughs to keep it from turning into a "battle of the week" type show. inter-office (or in this case platoon) politics also play a part, with rivalries running hot.

Alot of terminology is used in the series, which isn't too hard to pick up provided you're paying attention. This character is a Neni Operator, which is a fancy way of saying she's basically psychic.

to the show's benefit is its visuals. the planet is barren. you really wonder what the hell happened to it. and the sight of contamioid blood all over the place isn't something you forget at first, nor are the intense person-to-person clashes. the show covers a few story arcs, but doesn't end on much of a round note; there are many things unresolved at the end, making one think that there was potential for a season 2. whatever hopes of that, though, were likely dashed at the end, which mentions that the series is dedicated both to those that love the series and to Tetsuya Koiso. Koiso was a member of the production staff (google provides little answers to actual job title, but he was at least a major part of it) that appearantly died during the making of the series, thus the rush to the ending. despite there being more source material to draw from, there has been no hint of any more animation for Regios. the music is your standard action series fare. the background tunes are mostly instrumentals of the opening/endings and some upbeat cardio-pumpers. the opening is engrishy to the point of comedy, while both endings highlight the emotional sides of this show.

Like the opening, there are a lot of moments in the series which try to be serious, but end up more as "ACTIONLOL".

an aspect of Regios that still frustrates the crap out of me would be the format it is presented in. it has a typical linear plot going for it, but there are frequent flashbacks that were at first confusing and later on just annoying. some of the flashbacks aren't even resolved at the end, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth upon reflection. some names from the flashbacks are mentioned at the end, but nothing is brought together, leading us back to the conclusion that perhaps this was destined for more seasons, but never lived up to its potential. either way, the flashbacks are annoying in that they detract from the main story without providing anything for it.

Stuff like this is never explained.

despite its shortcomings, Regios was definitely an enjoyable watch, one that was long overdue for me. fanservice-free and action-packed, this is a great show to show to anyone 12+ (cause, y'know, flying eyeballs, human or not, aren't exactly something to show to little kids).

Moments like this are few and far between, but seriously, not really kid-friendly.

Chrome Shelled Regios is available from Exiled-Destiny, EZ-Subs, and Bowling Ball Fansubs (Italian). Regios is also licensed in North America by Funimation.

Prepare to get A LOT of reaction images from this series.

3.5-4/5

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hen Zemi

 
Hen Zemi is a paradox. cute but twisted, it started off weird, got weirder, reached terminal velocity and ended on a rather sweet note (well, sweet for this series). also called "Abnormal Psychology Seminar", it follows a girl in the perils of a college course she enrolled in solely because her crush was taking it. the first episode is playful weird, just to get you hooked; the viewer, like the girl, may experience discomfort, paranoia, and nausea over the course of the 12 13-minute episodes and 2 half-hour OVAs. some may experience excitement at the visuals, akin to the actions and reactions of the rest of the class. as such, viewer discretion is advised.
 
Nanako, smash any hopes you had of leaving this class with your purity intact.
 
boasting a cutesy style that both fits the series' weirdness and seems completely out of place, the paradox continues with its impossible cast. what is normal? definitely not this bunch, though from first glance they might appear that way. exploring fetish after crazy fetish is this series' bread and butter, with the casts' motivations, relationships, and secrets slowly being revealed. as touching as this may sound the show takes ANY opportunity it can to twist everything possible, so any sort of sweet, sentimental moments always come with a catch. the OVAs have the oppertunity to be even sicker than the tv show (OVAs always do), and also bears the odd distinction of being better animated than the show. stranger still is that they came out PRIOR to the series, bundled with special edition copies of manga volumes 4 and 5. perhaps it has to do with a more expanded budget, but otherwise all the factors are the same. still, somehow they end up looking like Hen Zemi: The Movie.
 
 
Somehow, the art quality just feels higher in the OVA.
 
the soundtrack is cute. once again, this is a paradox, as the series' true nature is anything but (it's like a fluffy bunny exteriour hiding a murderous bloodthirsty rapist inside....don't worry, there's no actual crimes in this show~). the opening is lyricless and kept short, showcasing the female members of the cast. the ending's lyrics really do the show justice; sexy but lighthearted, candid about all the topics it covers as the main character jogs around and the other members of the cast stare at the screen with a big grin. the background music is just your standard fare, being a sort of neutral pallette against the bold strokes cast by the scenes.
 
This image actually represents the series really well.
 
despite my general disgust with this series i must admit, by all respects it's good. not my taste, not at all. but the animation is solid, the voice actors perfect and the plot (well, how much plot can you get from a slice of life?) pulling enough to keep you in. some episodes were actually quite nice, such as one when a few of them sit in a lecture room and talk about relationships. others, such as the new year's episode, made me cringe a bit. don't get me wrong, it takes a lot to disturb me, so this didn't have me running for the door, but i did make sure there was no one else in the room when i was watching. >>;
 
This is part of the reason why.
 
i can't speak much to a target audience here....the ONLY group i can say this is suitable for is the age group on display: college students. and you're gonna need some open-minded ones at that. watch at your own risk, people. i'm not liable for the fallout that will come if you try to show this to grade-schoolers or old people. also, considering this qualifies at times as porno, keep it out of reach of your parents.
 
Please don't make me tell you what this is.
 
Hen Zemi is available from Why Not Subs, Kira Fansubs, DmonHiro Subs, Interrobang Subs, Final 8 Subs, Nanikano Fansubs (Spanish) Tekeremata Subs (Spanish), Front de LibĂ©ration des Animes (French), Pantsu Subs (German), and LJK Fansubs (Hungarian).
 
I'd like to know that, too.
I can see that.
 
???/5

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Specials

 
During my previous Croisee post, i had been unaware of the various OVAs bundled with the Blu-ray releases. there's enough to make its own anime season, though in episode count, not in running time. the OVAs are a series of shorts following the characters in various scenarios and "picture dramas", still shots set to dialogue and music telling a bonus tale. all of them are as sweet and lighthearted as the main series.
 
Little Red Riding Yune.
 
there are two kinds of specials here: the picture dramas and the shorts. the early shorts deal with bonus content like the picture dramas, but as time wears on with them they eventually devolve into little more than an advertisement for the series. charming as it all is, using the characters and specials as an advertising tactic is decidely not cute.
 
No Yune, don't eat those!!
 
the soundtrack here borrows mostly from the series, with one or two exclusive tracks, including one where Yune sings a little tune. most of the time the specials only deal with Yune and Alice, though a few introduce other characters, including Alice's sister Camille. the specials cover all sorts of random topics, from introducing Claude to Japanese Culture to a Cooking Lesson with Yune. a great accompaniment to a cute series, even with the blatant advertising.
 
Reminds me of Tasogare Otome x Amnesia's Kitty Ears. >w<
 
3/5

The Daily Lives of High School Boys

 
The Daily Lives of High School Boys (often abbriviated as Nichibros) is a 12-episode, 6.5-OVA series chronicling the everyday misadventures of 3 high school boys and their friends. the anime began life on the internet, being a series of 8 pilot shorts released on Nico Nico Douga before it was greenlit for full production. each episode is broken down into a series of shorts, each zanier than the last. as such, the series doesn't always make sense, but not nessecarily in a bad way.
 
Should you really be admitting that?
 
the three boys, Tadakuni, Hidenori, and Yoshitake, are all 2nd years at an all-boys high school in a normal neighborhood in a normal town. they make a mockery of this on occasion, poking fun at the fact that a collaboration between Square-Enix and Sunrise turned out so.....normal. this in itself is a paradox, as them poking fun at it isn't normal in the slightest, yet the setting screams "normal life". and yet it doesn't. if this sounds confusing, it should, as this series would have no less.
 
From Left: Hidenori, Tadakuni, and Yoshitaki, on their way to school when something catches their eye. Tadakuni's toast fell on the ground from his shock.
 
the characters are thrown at the viewer slowly at first, gradually increasing in speed as the series goes on. at times it's hard to keep track of everyone, to which the series says, "it's okay if you don't remember their names." in the end it's easier to just remember your favourites. a common drawback of series with piles of characters is that they end up as clones of each other; to this series benefit is that each one is so weird that it's impossible for them to imitate each other.
 
The sibling relationships in this series are greaaat.
 
the style of the animation is fresh and fun, giving the show a light-hearted air. serious moments never last too long here, making this a great watch when you're depressed or want something light. being mostly boys, fanservice is kept to a minimum, though if you have a problem with boys crossdressing, you might want to steer clear.
 
That's Tadakuni's sister right there. And those are her clothes.
 
the soundtrack of the series fits it well, setting up the scene with anticipating guitar. the opening, "Shiny Tale" by Mix Speakers INC sets the tone perfectly, one of everyday adventure and close broments. there are 2 ending themes; the first one, only played in the first episode, is the dialogue of the ending skit set to soap-opera-esque music. the actual ending (aka the one played in every other episode) is "Ohisama" (Sun) by Amesaki Annainin. Ohisama and the accompanying ending animation are a good sampling of what the series is about: crazy-ass bros in crazy-ass situations. according to wikipedia, the series originally had "Subtraction" by Jinkaku Radio as its ending theme, but it was pulled by Square after the lead singer insulted a major voice actress on his blog.
 
I think Ohisama suits the series just fine. That's a guy in the blonde wig, by the way.
 
Nichibros is a great series that you can show to just about anyone. with its quick pacing and rapid-fire gags, you're sure to have pain in your sides from all the laughter. clean, bright, crisp, and absurd all describe this show, and it is easy to show it to most all ages. (little kids might not get some of the jokes.)
 
Not all the jokes are as subtle as this one.
 
Nichibros is available from Sage Subs, Nemdiggers, Burger, and Kanari Anime (Spanish). it is licened in North America by NIS America.
 
Oh yes it is.
 
4.5/5

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sekirei Season 1

 
Truely a Seinen series, Sekirei is chock full of fanservice and action. it is a buffet table of girl archetypes, from the haughty upper-class girl to the little sister. while it looks completely like a vapid, shallow male fantasy run amok, it has more to offer than just that, being barrels of fun as well.
 
Don't ask me what's going on here, because i don't know.
 
Sekirei follows a city guy named Minato in the year 2020. Minato has just failed his college entrance exam (again), and on the way back to his apartment, the poor, downtrodden guy is hit by a girl as she falls out of the sky. coming to, he finds her panties in his face. before he has time to enjoy them, however, the girl drags him off in the midst of electric blasts by the twins in rubber miniskirts that were chasing her. after a good long while of running they go out to eat, then back to Minato's apartment, where the girl introduces herself as Musubi, a Sekirei. eventually it is revealed (through a kiss, what else) that Minato is Musubi's Ashikabi. they are then enrolled in the Sekirei Plan, a battle royale among all 108 Sekirei in the city.
 
Awww Yeeeah.
 
To give some context to these terms, a Sekirei is a humanoid creature (looks human, but is not) with some form of special power. Sekireis come in many shapes and colours, but are typically pretty girls (sometimes boys), usually with well-endowed chests. the powers range from simple hand-to-hand combat to making plants grow like the amazon. there is even one whose power is singing. helping them in their fight is their Ashikabi, a human partner that they use to first blossom (or, in their terms, "emerge") into a more powerful form, and then later on to activate their stronger powers. the Ashikabi is also what the Sekirei is fighting for, as the last Sekirei left standing will win a wish for his/her Ashikabi. one Ashikabi can also have multiple Sekirei, and indeed there are some unscruplous individuals out there who hunt down Sekirei just to capture them, not taking into account that a Sekirei needs to find his/her match on their own (sort of like true love, lol).
 
Some people can't handle the responsibility.

the art style of the series was fitting for the overall tone (fanservicely harem/love story), with lots of girlish colours and unique costumes, plus plenty of bouncy....hair.and boobs. lots and lots and lots of boobs and panty shots and people lose their clothes on occasion. so the easily offended will not like this series, not at all. being a seinen series, i sort of expected this, but it gets a little annoying after awhile if you're not watching this for the titty fetish. if you can manage to look past that, though, the series glows both when it throws a punch and blows a kiss. the music is typical; by typical, i mean that the opening sounds like what you'd expect an action series to have as an opening. it translates to the BGM, with one tune in particular actually just being an instrumental of the opening. the ending, on the other hand, reflects the harem side of the series, and is a colourful, silly romp that changes slightly every episode. waiting to see who would be featured was one of the joys of watching the show.
 
I lol'd.
 
overall, Sekirei was fanservicy but fun. underneath the shallow shell was an action series with some well-laced comedy and nicely-timed drama. a well balanced show underneath all the butts'n'boobs. as such, anyone under 15 probably shouldn't view this, nor should parents, grandparents, or conservative organizations who seem to stereotype ALL anime based off of ONE experience. (because EVERY anime on the planet is either robots or sailor moon or titties. ALL of them. ) remember to take the series with a grain of salt. because if you think that that's all the boobs you're going to see in an episode, you're wrong.
 
Seriously, you're dead wrong.
 
3.5/5

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chu-Bra!!

 
While on the surface, Chu-Bra!! seems to be filled with perversion and fanservice, when you actually get into the series it is quite informative. the subject in question, however, happens to be underwear, meaning quite a bit of fanservice, but at least it is understandable. that they're middle school girls both helps the story be more believable and makes it a bit more creepy. it wasn't a bad watch by any means, however, and i found myself yearning at times to see the next episode.
 
Not yearning as much as these two, but yearning.
 
The story follows Hayama Nayu, a bright young girl who is ostracized by her peers for her unusual hobby, revealed to the whole school at orientation when she trips on her way to give her class rep speech and reveals her mature choices of underwear. due to this obsession of hers, one she has had since elementary school, she is suspected by her peers of participating in Enjo Kousai ("Paid Dating", in which teenage girls are paid by middle-aged men to go on "dates"). Nayu, however, is extremely naive and a bit dense and doesn't quite grasp why the other girls won't talk to her. over time, however, she uses her obsession to help others, netting her some friends in the process.
 
Some Good Friends.
 
Overall, the series has a cutesy feel, but it is obvious this was a series made by grown men, for grown men. that's not to say it falls into the typical seinen tropes; it can be enjoyable for people in high school and over, but some might get tired of the frequent panty shots. with a show about underwear, however, that was to be expected, and if you can look past this the series is sweet enough. the opening and ending, while fitting (get it? fitting??) for this series, were a little annoying for my taste, honestly, and i found myself skipping them frequently.
 
It's cute, yes, but is it worth it?
 
I can't say the show has much in the way of plot, or at least not to the degree of some other shows. it's not a slice of life, but the show's plot is rather light by comparison to something like, say, Anohana or even Taisho Yakyuu Musume. looking back, it feels a bit unnecessary that it has still has filler episodes with such a slow plot, but seeing as how this is a seinen series, it was inevitable that there would be a beach episode. while they run into obstacles in the way of their goals, they're usually minor problems that can easily be taken care of. that this series DOES touch on some rather serious issues feels a bit strange in context, honestly, but this is a strange series, so i suppose it works.
 
You now know the origin of this image.
 
Chu-Bra!! was a series i got on a whim after seeing it listed on a fansubber's website, but i'm glad i saw it. it was an enjoyable (if mighty weird) 12 episodes. don't show this to kids, there are too many boobs. high school students should be able to handle this series nicely (albeit outside of school).
 
Best Way to Sleep.
 
Chu-Bra!! is available from Doki Fansubs and Mudabone Subs.
 
N'awww.
 
3/5