Category Archives: Tv series reviews

Kids on the slope, Anime tv series (2012)

One of the more fun things that I have experienced lately is doing watch-a-longs for animeseries that are featured on other blogs. It all started with the incredible Your lie in April, that I watched because of the rewatch feature over on Weekend Otaku’s blog. Not only was the series itself worth it, what made it an even better experience was sharing thoughts on each episode with Weekend Otaku and other bloggers. And so it was that I was delighted that another blog that I have always had a high respect for, started a watch-a-long as well. I’m talking about Hazelyn who has an absolutely wonderful blog called Archi Anime. If you are not yet following her, please stop reading, subscribe, and then come back here. Just kidding ofcourse, but trust me when I say that her blog is amazing, has seriously cool features on anime, and some truly unique things you don’t find on other blogs. All very good reasons to subscribe I would say. The watch-a-long she organised was for the delightful animeseries Kids on the slope.

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That is one way of getting someone to shut up. 

Kids on the slope tells the story of Kaoru Nishimi, a student and classical pianist that has never been fully confident in his own abilities. He has moved around quite a lot in his young life and as such has never really fitted in. Having just arrived at a new highschool, he fully expects to have yet another year in which he will experience lonelyness and being bullied. But then he meets the bad boy of the school Sentaro Kawabuchi. The two of them could not be more different, but still an unlikely friendship between the two of them begins to take shape. Even though Kaoru is mainly a classical musician, Sentaro introduces him to the world of jazz music. From this point forward things begin to change in Kaoru’s life. But when he falls in love with the beautiful class president Ritsuko Mukae, who is also a good friend of Sentaro, tensions begin to mount. Will his newly found first real friendship end in disaster?

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Stay way from me or these sticks will hurt you, I’m not kidding around. 

Kids on the slope is a beautiful and heartwarming anime, that I highly enjoyed. It is the story that really drives this series, and themes like friendship, love and music all blend together in a terrific cocktail. I’m not even a big fan of jazz music, but you can’t help but get excited when Kaoru and Sentaro play together. It has resulted in a few great scenes that for these alone make the series well worth the watch. But it are themes like friendship and lonelyness that are really handled incredibly well in this show. Even though there are some pretty dark moments in this anime, these are always alternated with some great feel good scenes. The animation style and setting for the series was quite unique. It was almost dreamlike, and at times even felt a bit like watching a very old but also highly modern animeseries. One only has to look at some of the screenshots that I have provided to see what I mean.

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I love watermelon as well, but this seems like overkill.

The characters of this series are kind of a mixed bunch. Kaoru, the main character, is someone you will have a love/hate relationship with. There are certain actions that he takes that will have you fuming with rage, and at other times you can’t help but feel sympathy for him. The kindhearted Ritsuko is definitely not without her flaws, but she is very important to the story. Sentaro however is the one that I liked the most. Pretty much every scene he appears in was fantastic. His at times very angry attitude, hides a truly kindhearted soul, that cares deeply for his friends. All in all it was wonderful to see the relationship develop between these three characters.

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Piano vs drums, not sure if that is such a good idea. 

This anime certainly won’t be for everyone. For one thing certain episodes did feel kind of slow, and there are a few moments in this series that were a bit confusing. But these events were definitely not enough to spoil the overall appeal of this one. The way the story is eventually wrapped up, is one of the best endings for an animeseries that I have seen to date. I really had a great time watching this rather unique anime and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a great feelgood story. Last but not least I want to thank Hazelyn for bringing Kids on the slope to everyone’s attention and organising this great watch-a-long.

I give Kids on the slope a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Hundred, Anime tv series (2016)

I guess everyone can relate to the fact that for every good anime series that is out there, there is always a crappy counterpart as well. A series that you want to stop watching altogether, but still continue with anyway because you at least want to see how it ends. I usually watch Animeseries two at a time (though recently that has expanded to at least five or six simultaneously). At the same time that I was watching the beautiful series Yuri on Ice, I was watching this one as well. To say these series could not be more different from each other, is probably an understatement. But not only in terms of story, but also in terms of quality. Because wow, this series was seriously bad, even though it also had it’s moments. But let’s first see what is going on in this anime, before I start tearing it down.

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I guess I could make some kind of comment about this picture, but I am choosing not to.

In Hundred it’s that time again where the Earth is besieged by giant monsters, and a handful of brave souls have to counter the beasts in order to save the world. The monsters in this anime are called Savages. Nobody quite knows where they came from, but it is enough to know that they appeared out of nowhere and started laying waste to the Earth. But, oh joy of joys, there is a weapon that can counter these mysterious beings known as Hundred. This weapon is wielded by the so called Slayers, specialised men and women who are able to use the Hundred in a variety of ways. Hayato Kisaragi is one of the newest recruits that has enrolled in the marine academy ship Little Garden. But as everyone will soon find out, he is no ordinary recruit. And just who is his strange roommate Emile Crossford that seems to know him from somewhere? All these mysteries and more will be solved, well at least if Hayato can survive a duel that he has just been challenged to by the most powerful Slayer onboard: Claire Harvey. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the lives of these three entirely different characters will soon be threatened like never before….

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There he is, the innocent pervert Hayato Kisaragi.

Ooohhhh…..this sounds exciting doesn’t it? Mysterious weapons, cool monsters, interesting characters…..erm, wait that last one isn’t correct, and I will soon get to that. In case you haven’t yet noticed this has got to be one of the most sarcastic reviews that I have written since starting this blog. Because quite honestly I can’t believe how the creators of this series have managed to turn this pretty cool concept into a such a total mess. Trust me on this, there are some things that I really did like. The weapon, Hundred, for instance is seriously awesome. Each Slayer wields the weapon in a different way, and as such it can turn into all kinds of different forms. Huge energy weapons, chains, even entire armours are all things Hundred is able to change into. Some of the fights between the Savages and Slayers are very cool to watch, and even the animationstyle is not bad either.

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Emile Crossford the only character that was somewhat fun, shows his anger at being cast in this anime.

Where this series fails however is in it’s characters and the very immature boobjokes, that seem to be a part of pretty much every single episode. Yes you read that correctly: boobjokes. Jokes about boobs, to turn it around. In almost every episode we see main character Hayato accidentally fall over a woman and grab her breasts. If this would happen a single time, I could overlook it. But as this became a trademark of the series it quickly became very annoying to say the least. In one of the later episodes, we even spent about 5 minutes of an episode where Hayato is being urged by other girls to touch someone’s boobs. Seriously….what the f….no let’s not use that language here. The characters themselves also are almost complete airheads, with maybe the exception of Emile Crossford the only character that at least had somewhat interesting traits.

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Yep, that is a Savage, though technically it isn’t. Nope, not going to tell you why not, no spoilers.

To say that this series was a major disappointment, is putting it mildly. And it really is a shame, because the final 2 episodes of the series showed a glimmer of what the series could have been. But that was simply too little, too late. With some cool concepts, and a story that even though not very original, wasn’t overly bad either, this animeseries definitely could have been very good. Because of the shallow characters, and very childish pranks this series apparently found more important to showcase, we are unfortunately left with a very bad animeseries. And one that I think is best avoided no matter how much you like giant aliens crushing puny humans. Well, luckily I am already investing my time in two new animeseries that so far are well worth it. Rest assured that reviews for these will follow, but the titles for these I will keep secret for now. Hey, there has to be a little mystery at some point right? Meanwhile, you can enjoy this gem of a series. (Ahem)

I give Hundred a 3 out of 10 score.

 

Yuri on Ice, Anime tv series (2016)

Don’t believe the hype is a popular saying that seems to be correct in quite a few cases. If I remember correctly this line dates back to a Public Enemy song from the 80’s. It pretty much means that sometimes a film or show gets so much attention, that it is almost impossible to ignore, much less dislike it. Last year the animeseries Yuri on Ice exploded all over the blogging community and beyond. Pretty much every animeblog that I followed featured a post about it, some even had multiple posts, saying how good it was. I usually get very cautious when I see something like that happening. For one thing, the theme for the series did not appeal to me. What could be so much fun about a series that dealt with figure skating? For another I have seen so many examples of movies or tv series that got hyped but ended up being a major disappointment, that I usually try to avoid those.

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There is such a thing as getting over excited….

 

But in the end, my curiosity got the better of me, and I finally decided to give it a go. And I was spellbound by it….pretty much right from the moment when the opening tune of the series started playing I was hooked on this. So I guess in some cases you simply do have to believe the hype. Now when a series is loved by this many people, there is a certain pressure to do justice by it. I know a few of you have been saying they were really looking forward to this review. So to keep it in competitive iceskating terms, let’s see if I can bring in the gold medal by writing a good post for this one. This series definitely deserves it…..and really….no pressure, at all.

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It can really be lonely on the ice, but this is taking things to a whole new level 

Yuri on Ice tells the story of the 23 year old Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki. Yuri has pretty much decided to put his entire career on hold after a defeat in the Grand Prix final. He is unsure of what to do next, but decides to head back to his hometown to figure out his next move. While visiting with one of his childhood friends called Yuko, Yuri performs for her at a local ice skating rink. The routine he shows her is a perfect copy of the one from his idol the Russian figure skating champion Victor Nikiforov. To Yuri’s surprise the footage from his performance was secretly filmed, and made it’s way over to the internet. And then the impossible really happens: Victor shows up with an offer to become his coach. Will Yuri be able to revive his career with Victor’s help? With a fierce competition ahead, and rivals that lurk around every corner, the answer to that is by no means certain. Especially when there is another figure skater that ironically is also called Yuri, who is hellbent on stopping him from reaching the gold…..

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Really….you should take a breathmint, I am not kidding here. 

Now those of you that are not familiar with this series (and I doubt that there are many amongst you that are not), I can probably already see frowning. After reading the premise for this, you might be asking the same question that I did: How on Earth can this be exciting? Let me try to explain to you what makes this series so special. At the heart of this there is the relationship that develops between Yuri and Victor. Yes, these guys are both male, and yes they develop a bond that is definitely more than a simple friendship. Even though I am straight myself, I have never had any problems watching a relationship develop between two males. Really, what would the problem be? Unfortunately we are currently living in a society that does seem at times to take offense at that. To them I say: your loss! The heartwarming scenes that occur between Victor and Yuri are the absolute highlights of this series. It is all done in a very subtle and tasteful manner, and it is completely impossible not to smile when these scenes occur.

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I used to do this as well when I was a kid and did not want to go to sleep. 

Speaking of highlights the figure skating animation sequences for this series are absolutely amazing. The animation is fluid, the accompanying music breathtaking, and it all deserves multiple rewatches to take it all in. It is also hard not to get caught up in all the excitement, especially during the later episodes, when the real competitions start. At times I felt like I was watching the Eurovision Song Festival, as the anime manages to create an atmosphere that just urges you to cheer for Yuri when he is about to perform. This series is all about creating a feel good atmosphere, and in that it succeeds very, very well. The characters are diverse, likeable, but also have their flaws just like real life human beings. And that for me is what makes this anime so amazing. At times I forgot that I was even watching an animated show.

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You half expect a bull to come skating up the ice, all that is missing is the matador red cape. 

Were there no negative things to this series? Well, one might argue about a few small fanservice moments that were not necessary in my opinion. Also at times we get a few pretty abrupt changes in tone, turning it into a slapstick comedy. But these scenes were also part of it’s charm, and at times reminded me of Your lie in April. These are very minor issues however for a series that has been an absolute joy to watch. If for some reason you are feeling down on a certain day, I recommend watching this show. I guarantee that it will help you lift your spirits. If after all this you are still not convinced that this show is worth the watch, just try out the first episode. If you are not hooked after watching that, you probably won’t be. But I honestly don’t see that happening. This series is definitely a gold medal winner.

I give Yuri on Ice a 9 out of 10 score.

Agent Carter season 2, American tv series (2016)

If you have been following the Marvel cinematic universe, you should know who Peggy Carter is. For those of you that do not, let me give you a small introduction. Peggy was the love interest for Captain America when he was fighting the good fight in World War II. When the Captain tried to save the day, he died leaving behind a grieving Peggy. But ofcourse as we all know Captain America did in fact not die, but was recovered many years later perfectly preserved in ice and fully alive. Carter is a courageous and very independent woman, especially during a time when men found  themselves to be better than women. The character of Peggy Carter was so popular that Marvel gave her her very own television series. I will be doing a review of the second season, which unfortunately also turned out to be the last one.

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They are looking at a flamingo. No…really they are. 

After the events of season 1, Peggy Carter is still at work at The Strategic Scientific Reserve, or SSR for short in New York. Even though she saved the day in the first season her male colleagues still don’t give her the respect she deserves. One of her close friends, Daniel Sousa now works in the LA branch of the SSR, and got promoted to chief. It is not long before the two friends are reunited to take on a murdercase. But this is not a normal murder case, as the body has been found in the middle of a frozen lake, even though the weather at the time is a scorching heatwave. Peggy has to find out the truth, but that truth might be more than even she can handle. With people trying to undermine her work in every way they can, and an old enemy showing up to make matters even worse, the case might be over before it has even begun….

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They are all still in shock because they got cancelled. 

The second season of Agent Carter was almost as much fun, as the first one. Haley Atwell, who plays Peggy, is simply put amazing. She really breathes life into the character, and she is definitely one of the main reasons why Carter is so popular. But the supporting cast is also every bit as good. James D’Arcy, who plays Edwin Jarvis the butler of Howard Stark provides all the comic relief, and his scenes with Peggy are all a delight to watch. The chemistry between those two is absolutely perfect, and it is almost impossible not to smile at some of their comedic banter. Enver Gjokaj also does a great job as the charismatic Daniel Sousa, who has a much bigger role this season. The relationship between him and Peggy is a very interesting one to say the least.

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No….they won’t change their minds to give you a third season Peggy, please hold back. 

The story this time around, though enjoyable and featuring a few terrific and tense moments, was not as powerful as the one in the first season. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it did not have me on the edge of my seat as much as the experience I had during season 1. Sadly, even though most of the storylines are luckily completed, the final scene of the show is a cliffhanger that unfortunately won’t be resolved. The show looks absolutely amazing, and really recreates post war America. But this is also one of the reasons the show got cancelled in the first place, the very high costs of building all the sets. That, and ofcourse the ratings that were not high enough to get a third season.

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Yep that is Tony Stark’s dad. No idea what that thing in the sky is, but it’s probably nothing. 

A real shame if you ask me, because Agent Carter is just a very fun show. Even though it does not feature any superheroes, it gives a very unique background story for the Marvel cinematic universe. To round it out it also provides one of Marvel’s favorite female heroes, even though she has no superpowers. If you have yet to experience Agent Carter, I would recommend you start by watching Captain America: the first Avenger. After this you can simply bingewatch both seasons of this great show. Even though there are only 18 episodes in total (not counting two short Marvel one-shots), this series is an absolute blast to watch. Especially if you want to watch something completely different than the usual superhero stuff and you like strong women in lead roles.

I give Agent Carter: Season 2, a 8 out of 10 score.

Goblin, Korean Drama series (2016)

Who wants to live forever? Ever since I first saw the movie Highlander, about the immortal Connor MacLeod, I have always been wondering about that question. Yes, there are certainly some cool things about never having to worry about dying. But on the other hand, it also brings with it a lot of pain. The one thing that would hurt me the most would be to see everyone I care about pass on, while I continue with living. So, to answer the first question I began with: not me. And with that out of the way, I will start with my review for the Korean drama series Goblin, that focuses a lot on immortality.

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You really want to mess with me? 

Goblin starts in the past where we first meet up with general Kim Shin, who continues to be succesful on the battlefield for his king. After returning from another battle where he emerged as the victor, he is betrayed by the king who is jealous of his succes. Kim Shin is killed by his own sword, on orders of the king. However, instead of dying he gets reborn as an immortal Goblin, a protector of souls. The sword he was killed with, pierces his chest, and can only be removed by the woman who will be his bride. Once that happens, he will finally be able to move on to the after life and find peace. After having lived for 939 years, he might finally have found that woman in the form of the lovely highschool student Ji Eun-tak. But Ji Eun-tak also has a very troubling past, and a secret of her own: she can see ghosts. Kim Shin, meanwhile has found a kindred spirit in an amnesiac Grim Reaper, who guides souls to the afterlife. This is the beginning of a great, tragic but also very funny adventure….

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Really, there is no need to point out something so obvious. Yes that is a sword: duh!

First off an apology is in order to the wonderful Kay from Kdramakisses. I have promised to write this review for so long that it almost seemed it would never be finished. I finally managed it, so Kay this one is for you. (And go ahead and visit Kay’s blog while you are at it, the number 1 source for Korean dramaseries). Goblin is an absolutely heartwarming series, that is almost impossible not to like. The best thing for this series are it’s characters. Ji Eun-tak, played by the wonderful Kim Go-eun, is a character that I guarantee you will fall in love with. The acting portrayed by Kim can’t even be called acting. It is so natural, that she simply convinces in every single scene. But the two male leads, Gong Yoo as Kim Shin and Lee Dong Wook as the Grim Reaper, are also one of the reasons you should watch this drama. Their comedic bickering, and warm friendship is an absolute delight to watch.

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You don’t know the joke about the Goblin and the Grim Reaper that hang out in a bar?

Goblin is a very unique series that mixes a lot of different genres together. When the series first begins, you would think this was going to be a big, bloody historical piece. But when the series moves towards the present it turns into kind of a comedic romantic drama with fantasy elements. Later on in the series, it shifts tones again, to include a few horror elements. This might put off some viewers, but I was not disturbed by it for a single moment. The humour for this show was absolutely terrific, and for someone like me, who usually doesn’t like comedy, that is telling a lot. There were a few scenes that literally gave me tears in my eyes from laughing. Don’t be fooled though this is definitely not a comedy. It is however a feel good show, even though there are also a lot of sad things that happen throughout the series.

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I forgot to mention this show includes a prequel to Titanic. 

The series runs for 16 episodes (18 if you include the two special episodes that focus on the making of the series), but not every episode was of the same quality. Especially during the middle of the series, I found the series to be a bit slow. Luckily the pace picked up again in the later episodes and it all ended in a pretty satisfactory way. Goblin became one of the most succesful Korean dramaseries ever made, passing even the recordbreaking Descendants Of The Sun, and it is hard not to see why. With a great and very unique storyline, fantastic characters, and a terrific atmosphere this series will leave you with a smile on your face once you finish it. And sometimes that is all you need.

I give Goblin a 8 out of 10 score.

Your lie in April, Anime tv series (2014)

Sometimes you come across something that is so special, that it is almost impossible to put it into words. Your lie in April is just that. To simply call this an anime series, is almost to do it an injustice. Because it is so much more than that. I have seen quite a lot of anime (but trust me when I say that I am still a newbie to this wonderful  medium), but this is without a doubt the best and most emotional series that I have ever had the pleasure of watching. I am so excited to share my thoughts with you on this, that I can barely contain myself. But I am getting ahead on things.

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Yes, riding a bike like this can be very dangerous. 

Before I begin my loveletter to this anime, I have to thank someone namely Weekendotaku. Now I have been following his blog for quite a few months now (and seriously if you are not yet subscribed to it, please do so now. I promise you won’t regret it.) and he has always had very insightful reviews which have been a blast to read. On the 2nd of April he started a new feature on his blog, namely a rewatch of this series. I joined in and every day a new episode would be watched and reviewed on which we and everyone else who had joined could exchange thoughts. It was great, it was emotional, it was fun, and I would not have wanted to miss this for the world. So once again: thank you!

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So beautiful……

In Your lie in April we meet up with the promising pianist Kousei Arima. Well, at least he was promising, but because of a traumatic event in his childhood, he can’t hear the notes anymore while playing. Just to clarify, Kousei is not deaf, in fact his hearing is perfectly fine. Kousei has two very good friends, Tsubaki and Watari, who have been with him since childhood. Even though Kousei has very little colour in his life, he has resigned himself to that. One day though, everything changes when he meets up with a girl called Kaori. Kaori plays the violin, has a sparkling personality and is almost the opposite of Kousei in every way. Still, she slowly begins to draw Kousei back into the world of music. But Kaori also has a secret, and when that secret will be revealed, it might be too much for Kousei to bear……

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Erm…..you were going to say something?

Now I am a man, and there seems to be a general rule, that a real man does not cry. But recently I heard something else as well, a real man is not afraid to show his feelings. Well, let me tell you this, I have literally had tears in my eyes so many times while I watched this, that it took me completely by surprise. Anyone who says that anime is just shallow, and only for kids should maybe start watching this series. To tell too much about this anime would be to do you a disservice. It is something that you have to discover for yourself. But I will attempt to at least make you understand why this series is so very special.

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I did not know that pounding on someone’s head could make them laugh. 

First off it is the characters. Never before have I had such an attachment to characters in an animated series. When you first lay eyes on Kaori, you will fall in love with her. Her personality, strength, and everything she does in this series is so incredible, that she feels completely lifelike. And no, I am not turning crazy, I still know we are talking about an anime, but once you have seen this, you will know what I am talking about. But it was not only Kaori. So many characters, both with smaller and bigger parts in the series, were absolutely amazing. I could especially relate to Tsubaki, as the role she plays came so close to my personal life, that at times  it was hard to watch.

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Yep, even the fireflies agree that you need to watch this series.

But it is the story itself, filled with so many touching and heartbreaking moments, that really takes this anime to another level. Especially during the later episodes, this series will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that simply does not stop. I really recommend having a box of tissues standing by, because you are going to need them. The animation is breath taking. There are so many scenes that are presented so beautifully, that it is not possible to pick a favorite. And nor would I want to. Lastly there is the music. Even if you are not a fan of classical music, it fits this anime so perfectly, that you will be spellbound by it. There are numerous scenes on stage with various different performances, each one more beautiful than the other.

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This picture pretty much sums up how I feel about this anime. 

So is there nothing negative to report about this series? Well, maybe just one small thing. There can be very abrupt changes in tone. Sometimes you are in the middle of a very emotional scene, to have that turn into slapstick comedy two seconds later. This was especially so in the beginning of the series, but trust me when I say that this will grow on you. And with so many moments in which this anime does not hold back it’s punches in emotion, it is also nice to have some comedy to relief the tension. Well if everything you have read here so far has not already made it clear, let me spell it out for you. I loved this show. It is by far the best anime that I have ever seen in my life, and it has been an experience that I will remember forever. If you have yet to watch this series, go do so right now. Be prepared to become hooked and fall in love with everything this show has to offer. And that really is not a lie…..

I give Your lie in April a 10 out of 10 score.

 

 

Macross Zero, Anime tv series (2002)

Prequels. It is a concept that the past few years has been introduced in novels, movies, and tv series. The question I have always asked myself is what is precisely the point of a prequel ? Sure it is nice to find out some backstory about certain characters, or some kind of clarification about events that were not fully explained in whatever the prequel is based on. But because a prequel can ofcourse not change the events of the established story, I always find that it lacks excitement. You know the story of what comes after, and ofcourse which characters will be in the original so they can’t be killed off in the prequel. If done well however, it can occasionally be fun to find out what led up to certain events happening in the original story. Honestly though, I am not a big fan of prequels. I do watch them,especially for franchises that I really enjoy like for instance the anime series Macross. Just like Gundam Wing it has now had so many different shows, that it is hard to keep track of it all. I might do a post for the entire Macross saga in the future. For now, all you need to know for this one, is that Macross Zero is a prequel to the series that started it all.

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I believe I can fly….

It is the year 1999 and a gigantic alien spacecraft crashlands on Earth. At the time the world is engulfed in a global war, but with the realisation that mankind is not alone, an uneasy peace is established. Nine years later, a lot of new technology has been realised with the help of what is found within the bowels of the alien ship. Most notably the transformable Valkyrie fighters. Even though the war has pretty much died down, there are still a lot of skirmishes between the new U.N.Spacy and Anti-Un forces. During one of these fights, we meet up with the young pilot Shin Kudo, who gets shot down by a strange alien craft. Crashlanding on a Mayan island he manages to survive. When he meets up with the inhabitants of the island, he soon realises that they have a secret that ties them to the alien ship. Deep under the ocean there resides an alien weapon that has been buried for over 10.000 years. A weapon that may result in the end of mankind when released……

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Nothing can keep us apart, except maybe a pink bubbly thing.

One thing that Macross has always been good at, is showcasing transformable fighter planes that beat the crap out of each other. And in that regard Macross Zero certainly does not disappoint. This 5 part series showcases some of the coolest Mecha fight sequences in this franchise to date. This being a prequel it was nice to see a lot of the old craft from the original series returning, most notably the Skull One. But there were also some new Mecha that we did not yet see in any of the other series. These fights were definitely the highlight of the show.

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Kind of gives a new dimension to the word overkill.

Another thing that has always been a trademark for this series is the love triangle arc. This time it is between the hero of the story Shin, and two sisters from the island on which he crashlands, Sara and Mao Nome. The characters in this franchise are usually one of the strong points, but in this prequel I found them to be rather dull. I did not establish any kind of attachment to them whatsoever, and that usually is a bad thing. What I did like was the return of the tragic hero from the original series Roy Focker. Even though he played he a small part in the events for this series, it was an important one. As Roy has always been a fan favorite character, many will enjoy seeing his return.

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Yep, that really is Roy Focker.

The story for this prequel was rather confusing. It contained a lot of mythical mumbo jumbo, that I at times could not make heads nor tails of. This being a prequel it does ofcourse contain some interesting ties to the original series, and I guess that makes it somewhat worth it. Has it changed my view on prequels though? Nope, I can honestly say that it did not. Macross Zero is worth the watch for the incredible Mecha fights that are contained within these five episodes, but ultimately I found it to be a rather disappointing entry into the Macross mythology. If you like Macross though, this is one you at least want to watch once, if only to see a few classic things make a reappearance. If you have yet to discover Macross, I would recommend starting with the original tv series from 1982, which is still every bit as groundbreaking as when it was first shown on television.

I give Macross Zero a 6 out of 10 score.

Kishin Corps, Anime tv series (1993)

Ah, classic anime. Sometimes it can just be nice to rewatch something that you vaguely remember that you enjoyed at the time, but most of the details for it have become a distant memory. Kishin Corps was a series that I owned on videotape (you know, those black boxes that contained tape and that you put into a machine called a VCR to show videos). A couple of weeks ago I visited the Dutch Comic Con, where my eyes fell on the dvd boxed set for this 24 year old animeseries. I could not believe my eyes to be honest, and I decided to buy it. I just simply could not resist. But is this series still as great as when I first saw it, or has age caught up with this one?

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Kishin Corps takes place during the Second World War, albeit a very different one from the one we read about in the history books. We first meet up with a young boy called Taishi who is entrusted with a mysterious black box by his father. The train on which they are travelling together suddenly gets attacked by the Kanto army. While fleeing for his life, a second party appears, but this one of extraterrestrial origin. A furious battle ensues, in which Taishi only just manages to escape, but then gets cornered. Just when things become extremely desperate, the heroes of the series appear: the Kishin Corps. Taishi then gets caught up in the middle of an adventure the likes of which he has never experienced before in his life. The black box that he has in his possession, contains alien technology, that becomes the focal point for a power struggle. With both the Aliens and the Nazis trying to achieve world domination, the only hope lies with the members of the Kishin Corps and their powerful robots. Will they be able to stop the tides of war?

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Kishin Corps is a very unique series. While this anime is set during the WWII era, we get a very different take on it. This is a Mecha series, but we don’t get the fast robots that you might be used to. No, instead we get towering robots that move slowly, and let the ground shake with every step they take. The robots are seriously cool and gorgeously designed, and those alone make this anime well worth watching. Most of the characters are very colourful, and one of the highlights of this series. It is really fun to see how Taishi grows from a very innocent young boy, into a more mature man by the end of the show. The members of the Kishin Corps themselves also each have their own unique traits. I do have to say, that I would have liked to have seen some more background for them. There are real life figures that also make an appearance, like Albert Einstein and even Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress. Although most of them are completely different in the way that history remembers them.

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This being a 24 year old series, the animation style is pretty dated. This is old school anime and it shows. It did not detract me in any way from the series itself though. The soundtrack for this anime is very cool, and often reminded me a bit of Indiana Jones if I were to make a comparison. As far as the storyline goes, it starts off pretty well, but towards the end, things were rushed a bit. As such I felt the ending was poor, and honestly was not as good as I remembered it. It is funny how your mind can play tricks on you, with things such as this. Still, if you like classic anime, and also enjoy alternative history storylines, this series most certainly is a treat. With a cast of cool characters, high speed action, and big robots that smash the life out of each other this classic is still worth the watch. If you prepare yourself for an ending that could have been handled better, you might get a kick out of this 7 episode series.

I give Kishin Corps a 8 out of 10 score.

Knights of Sidonia Season 2, Anime tv series (2015)

I watched the first season of Knights of Sidonia quite a while back. (You can find my review for it here). While the series started off pretty slow, and was definitely not without it’s flaws, it eventually started to grow on me. Now recently D from Dtalksanime has started on this show, and I thought this would be as good a time as any to start watching season 2. First though, if you have not yet subscribed to the fantastic blog of D, do that first. They have great reviews on anime, post that are always a joy to read, and not only that they are great to talk to, so seriously what is there not to like: subscribe….now. So for those of you who are not exactly up to speed as to what this series is about I will give a very short discription. Obviously this anime takes place in the future. Humanity is on the brink of extinction fighting an alien race called the Gauna. A gigantic colony ship called Sidonia, is pretty much all that remains of the human race. Think Battlestar Galactica, but with subtle differences.

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The second season of this anime continues the story that began in season 1, and picks up almost right after the end of the first season. Garde pilot Nagate Tanikaze is out with his group about to engage a new and gigantic Gauna, that threatens to destroy the Sidonia. But just when the fight is about to start a new enemy enters the scene. As if one Gauna is not enough, two are more than a handful. It is right at that moment that something strange happens. The second Gauna engages the first one, and destroys it completely. Utterly baffled by this strange behaviour, the crew of Sidonia don’t know what to make of this. Is this new Gauna friend or foe? The answer to this question lies within Sidonia itself, and might hold the key to winning the war against the Gauna once and for all.

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So…Knights of Sidonia season 2. Where to begin? The first season of this anime was often criticised for it’s lack of character development. You never quite felt an emotional attachment to them, and that makes it hard to get invested in a series. With this second season it almost seems like they are trying to remedy that flaw, as the series spents much more time with the characters themselves, and focusses less on action. This would not be a bad thing were it not for the fact that this often resulted in a few pretty boring episodes, where not much of anything happened. I don’t mind slow, if it is going somewhere, but often there were just some things in the series that I felt could have been left behind.

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The series shines in the episodes that featured action, and it was during those episodes that I really enjoyed it. There were a couple of very cool Mecha fight sequences, especially during the last few episodes of the series. In the end though I found this second season not quite as good as the first one. The pacing was at times simply to slow, and I felt my mind starting to wander off, which is usually not a good sign. I had hoped that this season would answer every question that was still left unanswered, but the series ends without a resolution. There is still no official confirmation that this series will get a third season. But I honestly wonder if I will even bother watching it when it does get a release. I was pretty disappointed by this second season. Still, there are enough moments that do make it a worthwhile watch, especially if you liked the first season. Just be prepared to not see anything really surprising though.

I give Knights of Sidonia season 2 a 6 out of 10 score.

Blood-C, Anime tv series (2011)

I think horror can roughly be categorised into two parts: psychological horror, and the often not very subtle gory horror. I like both genres, it often depends a bit on my mood, but I do have to say that I am more of psychological horror fan myself. It is usually more scary as well, and I do love the jumpscares that are almost always included within those movies. That said, there are also a lot of horrorfilms out there, that have buckets of blood in them, and are very enjoyable in their own way. In Anime enough examples can be found that contain enormous amounts of graphic violence and gore. But I don’t think there has ever been a title that described better what the show is about than Blood-C.

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Blood-C tells the story of the young girl Saya. At first glance she seems like a pretty normal girl who lives with her father in a shrine in the woods. She goes to school during the day, and occasionally visits the small town located near her home. But as is so often the case, things are not always what they seem. Because during the night, Saya transforms into a fearsome monster slayer. Fighting creatures called Elder Bairns, the only one who knows about this side of Saya is her father. But when the attacks become more frequent, and the lives of everyone in town are threatened, Saya’s secret is becoming increasingly harder to protect. But just who is Saya? With strange memories beginning to surface in her mind, Saya is beginning to wonder if everything that she had been told is really the truth. The real horror might be more than Saya can handle….

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To say that Blood-C is gory, is an understatement. This series contains more blood than 10 horrorfilms mixed together. Literally entire fountains of the red substance are shown in every episode. It contains absolutely incredibly graphic and violent death sequences, and as such is not for the faint of heart. Blood-C is a follow up to the (pretty amazing) anime movie Blood: the last Vampire, which in turn was followed by the series Blood+. Now as you might have guessed, this series is not very subtle. Every episode is basically Saya fighting some kind of new creature, and as such a storyline is almost non-existent. I do say almost, because a very interesting twist in the story that occurs during episode 11, saves it from becoming a really predictable show.

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As for the characters in the series, they are very forgettable. Except for Saya, the rest of the cast in this series is very dull, and contain little to no depth at all. This also makes it hard to become attached to characters, and even when they die (and there are a lot of deaths in this anime), you could not care less. The animation style is very good though. The fight sequences, which are the highlights of the show, are cool and amazing to look at. The last thing worth mentioning is the musical score, which sounds epic, especially during the many fights that Saya gets into.

Now, I don’t know exactly why, but there was something about this series that I liked. Yes, it is bloody, and basically every episode is more or less the same, but the series is just very easy to get into and highly enjoyable to look at. If you get put off easily by graphic violence or squeamish at the sight of one drop of blood, you had best avoid this series. When you like action, gory horror, and don’t care if the story is almost not here, you might give this one a try. There will be blood though….oh yes…

I give Blood-C a 7 out of 10 score.