Tag Archives: Anime

Deadman Wonderland, Anime tv series (2011)

I’m beginning to have a small luxury problem. And I’m sure I’m definitely not the only one that has this particular problem. Ever since I started my blog, now more than a year ago, my love for anime has resurfaced. Shock of all shocks, it might even surprise you that before that, I had not been watching anime for a period of more than five or six years. I know right? How on Earth did I even survive that? Now though I have so much anime to watch, that I don’t even know where to start anymore. Besides my own rather formidable dvd collection, I now also have Crunchyroll and more recently Netflix, that have such a great variety of anime series on offer. So what to do about this problem? I’m just going with the flow I guess. I now try to watch a series from my own dvd collection, and then one from either Netflix or Crunchyroll. Just to keep some kind of balance. Erm, yes I guess I can be weird like that at times. Anyway, it was Netflix that was next in line, and after browsing through their considerably large animelist, my eyes were drawn to Deadman Wonderland.

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This brings a whole new meaning to the term papercut. 

In Deadman Wonderland the life of the seemingly ordinary highschool student Ganta Igarashi is about to take a turn for the worse. When his class is preparing to take a school field trip to the privately owned prison Deadman Wonderland, that at the same time serves as an amusement park, a mysterious being suddenly appears. The being that is known as The Red Man, slaughters the entire class, with the exception of Ganta. Being the only survivor, Igarashi soon gets charged with mass murder. Things get even worse when overwhelming evidence is presented that can’t be explained and soon young Ganta is sentenced to death and sent to the Deadman Wonderland prison. Once there he meets a mysterious white haired girl called Shinto, that saves him from a bunch of bullies that were about to kill him. All of a sudden a large explosion rocks the prison and brings down a large object right on top of Ganta and Shinto. Just when it is about to crush them, a mysterious power awakens in Ganta that allows him to take control of his own blood. In this way he manages to keep the object from falling on their heads. With the awakening of this power it is beginning to become apparent that Deadman Wonderland holds many secrets, and not all of them very friendly…..

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Hey, I told you Shinto could get a little crazy at times

Well, let me start this review by saying that this series is not, I repeat not, for the faint of heart. To call this series rather gory is quite the understatement. The blood flows freely in this anime, and I am not talking about a few small drops either. No we have buckets full of blood that are spilled, including several mutilations, and a rather nasty removal of an eyeball, that makes this a really brutal show. But before you all turn the other way, let me tell you that this show also kicks ass (pardon my French). I have never seen an animeseries that featured such a unique power. Ganta, and a rather large cast of other colourful characters, can use their own blood to form  weapons like swords, whips or even projectiles. And this makes for a couple of incredibly cool fightscenes between the inmates, that while at times rather bloody, really are highly entertaining to watch. It’s almost as if you are back in Rome during the days of gladiator fighting.

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Don’t worry these are all special effects, he is fine. 

As mentioned the cast is rather large, and more and more are added with each episode. This eventually results in quite a few them being rather bland, and not ones that you can form an attachment to. But one character I guarantee you will in love with is Shinto. This free spirited girl that has a special, and really protective bond with Ganta is a truly fun character. Sometimes a little crazy, at other times seemingly innocent, but more than capable of taking care of herself she is the absolute highlight of this anime. Ganta, the hero of the series is your typical innocent young boy character, that you have seen in quite a number of other shows. That is not to say that you don’t feel sympathy for him though. Not only is he wrongfully accused, he also gets confronted with a mysterious power and is placed in the most awful place one can imagine. It is enough to drive most men or women insane, but Ganta keeps fighting the good fight, and you have to admire that.

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In case you were wondering, no she is not naked, she is wearing a suit. 

For those of you that are observant, you might have already taken a glance at the final score I have given this anime. Made you look didn’t I? So why the low score for a show that I haven’t been really negative for yet? Well, it’s unfortunately one of those anime series that wraps things up in a really bad way. Or maybe it’s even better to say it doesn’t wrap up anything. After 12 episodes you are left with so many unanswered questions, and no real resolution that you end up feeling rather frustrated. I absolutely hate it when something like this happens. I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun watching this, up until the final few episodes. And this is really such a shame. The storyline for this was very good, the animation more than decent, there were cool fightscenes and some very interesting  characters. And then it all went to hell in a handbasket. Whether or not you want to give this a try depends on the fact if you don’t mind shows that end with with no real resolution. I do have to admit that the fightsequences alone are worth seeing at least once, so there is that. All in all, despite a pretty big list of positives I can’t really bring myself to fully recommend this one. So watch at your own discretion.

I give Deadman Wonderland a 6 out of 10 score.

 

 

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Ergo Proxy, Anime tv series (2006)

Have you ever felt the pressure when you are writing a review? A cold sweat that the things you are about to write might not go over so well with everyone? I’m feeling that pressure right now. A certain amount of dread for a review that I have been promising for quite a while now. Namely that of the anime Ergo Proxy. And now that I’m actually starting my first draft for this, I don’t really know where to start. Because honestly I have no clue what to make of this series. When I first started watching this, and that was weeks ago, I really felt this was a anime that contained a lot of elements that I usually enjoy quite a lot. A dark dystopian future, a very unusual but utterly terrific style of animation, and characters that at first I thought I would really like. But at some point, it all started to go wrong. At least for me it did. So what happened? Let’s first talk about what this series is all about, before I am going to dive into the review itself.

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It was a dark and stormy night….unfortunately it was like this every night, and day.

Ergo Proxy is set into a future where thousands of years ago the planet was all but destroyed by a global ecological disaster. What is left of humanity lives on in a domed city called Romdo. It is supposed to be a utopia, but as is so often the case beneath all the shine, dark secrets are being kept from the general public. The humans that live in Romdo coexist with androids called AutoReivs. The AutoReivs serve humanity in different kind of ways either as Companions or Entourages. The peace is soon shattered when a series of grissly murders take place. Re-L Mayer is the investigator who is assigned to look into the case together with her AutoReiv partner Iggy. While at the site of one the murders, Re-L encounters an unknown entity. She has never seen anything like that before and later she is attacked at her house by a similar being. Her investigation eventually leads her to a young immigrant called Vincent Law that seems to be involved with these mysterious creatures called Proxys. But just how is he connected to them, and just what exactly is a Proxy? All the answers to these questions might be more than Re-L can handle, and might shake Romdo to it’s very core….

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You meet the strangest people these days while donating blood.

Ergo Proxy starts very promising. The first ten or so episodes tell a very interesting supernatural mystery, with some intriguing moments that will have you guessing at every turn. Re-L’s investigation into just what exactly is going on is a fascinating journey to follow, with many twists and turns. Eventually she ends up outside the city of Romdo together with Vincent Law and a young AutoReiv called Pino. And that is the point where it all started to go wrong for me. Every episode afterwards sees the three of them travelling across a dark and very depressive landscape aboard an airship. And almost nothing happens. The time is spent with a lot of talking, and talking….and more talking. Okay, this is maybe a bit of an exageration, but it is not very far of the mark. I don’t mind slow series at all. I certainly watched quite a few of those that were incredibly entertaining. But I do mind it, when a show goes into very deep philosophy mode about subjects that I can really not make heads nor tails of. And it becomes even worse for me when all of a sudden an episode is inserted that is just complete and utter crazyness.

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Woohoo….at least one character is happy in this show!

Let me explain that last remark. Episode 15 sees our three leads enter a quizshow completely out of the blue. Yes you read that right, a quizshow. It is so incredibly out of place when compared to the rest of the series that one just had to wonder what the point of it was. Another thing that I was not satisfied with, was the wrap up of the story. Everything just goes into full on speed mode in the last 3 episodes. It was almost as if the creators were thinking we don’t have any time left, let’s finish this as quick as we can. The result is an unsatisfactory conclusion with quite a few things just not fully explained. And then there are the characters. Both Re-L and Vincent are just not really people that I would love to make friends with. They are incredibly dull, have an expression on their faces most of the time as if someone has died, and quite frankly were not people I could feel any sympathy for. Which is a real shame because the design for Re-L especially is really beautiful. She looks bad ass so to speak, and could have ended up as a truly amazing character.

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Yeah, I just had to include another picture of the happy character.

This is turning a bit into a rant, for which I am truly sorry. Is there nothing positive? Yes there is. The animation style is really unusual but also very beautiful. The dark city of Romdo looks amazing, and so do the truly dark backgrounds. And then there is the character of Pino. This young childlike AutoReiv was a joy to watch, and one of the only shining lights in a series that consisted of characters that at any point seemed almost ready to take their lives. Or at least that was what they looked like at times. Pino was infected with the so called Cogito virus that makes her self aware. It only made her more human, and quite luckily a very welcome happy note in this very depressive series. The storyline itself, besides the for me truly poor execution, was still very intriguing. Especially in the beginning it contained some very cool elements that were a joy to watch and at times had me on the edge of my seat.

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Erm, no I am sorry. I am not going to shut up about my feelings for this show.

I really wanted to like this anime. I’m sure a lot of you reading this review might even be surprised at my reaction. But in the end the series just didn’t work for me. It unfortunately happens at times, and sometimes even with shows that contain elements that normally should have you bursting into joy. Another note of warning I also want to give to you is that this really isn’t a happy show. It can really affect your mood, turning it into something very melancholy. I know some people can be overly sensitive for things like this, and that’s why I’m at least mentioning it. So, in closing I want to say that this is my own opinion on an anime that really has some very high ratings. Don’t take my word for it, but just go and watch it yourself and maybe you will be someone that is going to really enjoy it. I hope not everyone is going to bite my head off after posting this. So with a few drops of sweat on my brow I guess I’m going to press the publish button.

I give Ergo Proxy a 5 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: Coming up next……

Earlier this week I realised something that actually shocked me a bit. In a little bit less than two months we will be saying goodbye to the year 2017. I don’t know if this is just me, but seriously this year has rushed by so fast! But maybe the reason might simply be it’s because I’m getting older or something like that, but I do wonder where this year has gone off to in such a hurry. As the year 2018 is already slowly beginning to appear on the horizon, I thought it would be nice to let you all know what will be coming up next in these last two months of the year on my blog. I will try to release some diverse content so that hopefully everyone is going to have something to look forward to. So let’s take a look into the crystal ball of the future shall we?

Anime

imageYes anime is definitely still a part of my blog. It has been lacking a bit in the past few weeks, I have to admit, but let me just ease your minds: there is plenty of that still going to be heading your way. Ergo Proxy is a series that I know a lot of you have been waiting to hear my thoughts on. Rest assured the post for that one is coming this month. Girls und Panzer is an unexpected delight. I had skipped over this series quite a number of times in the Crunchyroll line up. But because of a recent post from The Otaku Judge on the Girls und Panzer film, I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did. Other anime you can expect reviews for are Deadman WonderlandThe Skycrawlers and Bakemonogatari.

Tv series

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I am really playing catch up to a lot of things at the moment, and as such have fallen  behind on some of my favorite television shows. But that does not mean I don’t occasionally start with something new. Television series based on movies are usually a very bad idea and have an awful track record. Ofcourse there are exceptions to this rule, and the Lethal Weapon tv series certainly is one. Prison Break returned this year to our small screens with a one time 9 episode event series. It used to be one of my alltime favorites, and that’s why I am really looking forward to watching this. Star Trek Discovery is the newest Star Trek tv series, and while I am still debating on whether or not I actually think it’s a good show, it’s certainly not bad either. Besides reviews for these three series, you can also expect posts for Homeland season 6, The Walking Dead season 7, and Fear the Walking Dead season 1.

Korean Dramas

imageKorean dramas are so much fun, but unfortunately as with almost everything I have really started to run behind on these (sorry Kay). The first one is Pinocchio a somewhat older series, but one that I have so far been enjoying for quite a bit. The second is one that has been on my to watch list for ages and that’s Missing 9. The main reason for watching this one is that it includes one of my favorite Korean actors Jung Kyung-ho. The second reason is that it reminds me a lot of Lost, an alltime favorite series of mine, as it tells the story of a group of people that survive a plane crash and get stranded on an island. Both of these are up for reviews in the coming months.

Movies

imageNo big suprise that of course movies will also remain a big part of this blog (at least I hope it won’t be a surprise that is lol). Yesterday I saw the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok. It was a fun filled film, and that one will be up first when it comes to movie reviews. With the releasedate of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, coming ever closer, I am planning on doing a series of posts similar to the Countdown to Halloween feature. And it will be given the name Countdown to The Last Jedi (duhhhhh). I’m not yet going to reveal which movies will be included, but of course they are all going to be science fiction. Other movies you can expect reviews for are John Carpenter’s classic Christine and Justice League. But with movies I expect a few others to be added to this list along the way.

Books

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Ughh, my Good Reads to read list is growing daily, and I probably won’t be able to complete it until I am close to entering a retirement home. I do want to finish a couple of books by the end of the year though, so I still have hope of including at least a few reviews for those as well. I am currently right in the middle of the Sisters of Battle Omnibus written by James Swallow. Part of the Warhammer 40000 universe, it has so far been a very entertaining read. For those who want a bit of nostalgia, I’m also planning a review for the Mini-comic collection of He-man and the Masters of the Universe. The last two books on my list for this year are The official making of Big Trouble in little China and the Star Wars novel Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. This last one especially is one I am really looking forward to as it marks the return of my favorite villain from the Expanded Universe that became canon again (erm, yes I am going to explain that one when I write the review for it).

Boardgames

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Yes, I still play boardgames, even though the last review for one of those dates back to May this year. I hope to publish at least one more review for a boardgame and that is for the incredible Xenoshyft Dreadmire. This is a really fun but incredibly tough deckbuilding game, in which you have to defend your base from a horde of bloodthirsty alien creatures. The artwork for this game is off the scales, and it will be a delight to show it you in all it’s creepy glory.

In closing….

So, that’s pretty much what I have planned for the final two months of this year. In between these posts I also hope to catch up on some tags and awards that I haven’t yet made posts for. As with all things, these are all plans that can be subject to change, as you never know when real life decides to throw a wrench into everything again. But hopefully that won’t happen. In closing I want to thank each and everyone of you who continue to support my blog. I really could not do this without you! So: Thank you all 😀 Let me know in the comments section below if there are any things that you are looking forward to in particular (or if there is nothing on this list that grabs your attention, which is fine as well of course, but I definitely hope that’s not the case lol). Thank you all for reading, see you on the next post!

The girl who leapt through time, Japanese (animated) movie (2006)

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me: I never sleep in. Not even in the weekends. I’m always up early, usually at around six in the morning, and I do this because time is precious and I don’t want to lose too much of it by sleeping. (It also helps that I don’t need much sleep, so there is that). As a result that means I am never late for things either. I always arrive way too early at my work, or at appointments. I’m always amazed at people that arrive 2 minutes before they have to be somewhere. I would go completely nuts if that were me. It all would be so much easier though if there was some way we could travel through time. We would literally have all the time in the world, and things would be so much easier. Or would they? Even though it might sound like a very nice thing to be able to travel through time, and maybe even correct mistakes you might have made, it always comes with a consequence. Something that the movie I am about to review is trying to make painfully clear.

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I would not recommend stepping of your bike like that. You might get hurt.

In The girl who leapt through time we meet the happy go lucky highschoolgirl Makoto Konno. She lives at home with her parents and her younger sister, and enjoys playing baseball. She is always in a rush though, racing on her bike to get to places in time, and nearly always arriving late at school. One day after class ends, while riding downhill on her bike, her brakes fail. She desperately tries to find a way to stop before hitting a railroad crossing, but fails and gets hit by an oncoming train. But then strange things start to happen. She all of a sudden finds herself back on her bike, just before the accident happens. This time events happen differently. She soon finds out she has the power to time-leap, essentially travelling back in time for short or longer distances. Makoto begins to enjoy her new found power and uses it for relatively small things such as getting perfect grades or arriving in time. Her two closest friends Chiaki and Kousuke are beginning to notice changes in her behaviour. Eventually time catches up with her, and she begins to realise that everything comes at a price. Especially since one of her friends might be in mortal danger…..

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It’s scenes like this that are simply breathtaking.

I have been wanting to see this movie for a very long time. To my delight I was finally able to obtain it on this year’s animecon and I have finally found some time (pun intended) to watch it. And I can tell you this movie did not disappoint. This was a really wonderful piece of animation both in terms of story as in art. At the heart of this one is the underlying message that every action we take or might not take, has a consequence. If for instance you might fear to admit you love someone, because you might lose his or her friendship, you might rob yourself from something even more beautiful. This last theme is something that is dealt with quite heavily in this movie, but before you start to think this is a mushy romantic film: it’s not. Though there is definitely some melancholy in this movie, it’s mostly a very uplifting and upbeat story. There were quite a number of times this film presented some heartwarming moments, that managed to put a smile on my face.

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Sometimes you just enter that fork in the road. 

From an animation point of view this film is really something. We are talking about a movie that is more than ten years old, but the animation presented in this one is breathtaking. There are numerous shots of a beautiful landscape, that coupled with the music, just gives you the feeling you want to stay in those scene forever. The main characters are great as well. Makoto is a great and fun character, which is important as you spent almost the entire movie at her side. You really sympathise with her, and the things she is going through. Her two friends Chiaki and Kousuke are for a change not your typical macho type boys, but two men that have their hearts in the right place. As the inevitable love triangle begins, it is luckily not one of those that will make you cringe (thank God for that). There are some other minor characters that also have some influence in the story, but the movie mainly revolves around the three characters I just mentioned.

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Take off your earphones when I am talking to you: that’s plain rude! 

The voice acting in the film (I watched the movie in the original Japanese language in case you were wondering) is very good, except for some of the scenes where Makoto has to cry or laugh. Those are always difficult emotions to pull off, but at a brief scene near the end it spoiled the emotional moment a little bit. But this is a minor thing in what is otherwise a truly terrific and beautiful movie. The girl who leapt through time is a film that I can definitely recommend. Especially if you like movies that feature time travelling elements. Sometimes films such as those can get very complicated, but in this one it’s handled very well, without it ever becoming hard to follow. So, they say time waits for no one. In other words, what are you waiting for? Go and see this movie.

I give The girl who leapt through time a 9 out of 10 score.

Blogwarming Party!

Hello everyone, and especially you new anibloggers! Huh, what’s this I can hear you all thinking right now. Well this is a post directed especially at new anibloggers, but it’s also meant to give a bit of shameless promotion to one blogger in particular, but more on that later. For all you veteran bloggers out there, do you remember what it was like when you started your own blog, weeks, months, or maybe even years ago? I know that I do for sure. I had literally no idea what I was doing. One sunday morning I got this crazy idea to start a blog about one of my greatest passions: movies and television series. When I published my first post, I was amazed that there were people that even read it. What was even more fun, is that eventually people even started commenting on later posts. At first I felt a bit like the character above this post: shy as hell. But eventually I got over my fears and started commenting on other people’s posts and it was a lot of fun. Blogging has since then become one of my greatest hobbies, and it has grown into a part of my life that I can’t live without anymore.

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Let’s get this party started!

But before this turns into a post about me, let me tell you what the real point of this one is. Remember that shameless promotion I was talking about for a particular blogger? Well here it comes. Ever since I started blogging my love for anime has returned, and I keep stumbling across new blogs for this wonderful medium every week. Most recently I discovered Irina’s wonderful aniblog called I drink and watch anime (the title alone is just reason enough to start following her). Seriously though, her blog has skyrocketed for the past few weeks, and deservedly so. She has awesome reviews, but is also a very kind person to talk to, and always takes the time to respond to a comment you left for her.

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Really, no need to start blushing !

Today though, she came with an absolutely wonderful idea, that I just had to promote. She is reaching out to any aniblogger that has just started out by featuring some of their new posts. In other words she is creating a platform to showcase your work if you have just started blogging. Now if that isn’t awesome and enormously kind, I really don’t know what is. You can find out more about this by checking out her own post for this right here . Now if you haven’t already of course go and follow her blog as well, and I promise you won’t regret it. So on a personal note: I think it is an awesome and seriously cool idea you had here Irina, so I wish you all the best with the execution of it. If you ever need more help for this: let me know!. Well I guess that is enough shameless promotion for one post lol, but I definitely meant every word of it. Well, all you new anibloggers out there: best of luck, and remember this: blogging is awesome, as you will discover soon enough!

Plastic Memories, Anime tv series (2015)

For those of you that have been wondering if my love for anime has maybe disappeared, let me put your minds at ease: it has not. I admit it has been quite a while since I have last published a post for an animeseries, which is exactly the reason why I am doing one now. And don’t you just love it that it’s for a series that I just picked by pure chance and turned out to be something really quite special? I’m still in the middle of Ergo Proxy, and while I am so far truly enjoying it, it paints a picture of a very bleak future. The entire atmosphere it breathes is quite depressive and that is why I was looking for something to counter that and put me in a bit of a brighter mood. Looking through the Crunchyroll line up, I stumbled upon Plastic Memories. I found the premise for it quite promising, and I thought it would be a pretty bright and upbeat show. In parts it truly was just that, but I certainly did not expect that the final episode would bring me close to tears.

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This is a bit how I feel when I haven’t yet had my coffee in the morning.

Plastic Memories takes place in the future where humans live alongside androids that are all but indistinquishable from humans. The most advanced models, the so-called Giftias, have the most humanlike abilities, and have emotions and memory. Unfortunately all this comes at a price. A Giftia has a maximum lifespan. If it exceeds that limit, it results in a change in personality and memoryloss. In fact the best way to describe is that they turn into a very agressieve zombielike being. But there is an organisation that helps to retrieve the Giftias that are getting close to their expiration dates from their owners. The so called Terminal Service carries out that work in teams of two, a human called a Spotter and a Giftia that acts as the Marksman. A young man called Tsukasa has just started working at one of the offices of the Terminal Service. He is introduced to his beautiful partner Isla and together the pair start their job. Tsukasa is quickly developing feelings for Isla though and soon their relationship begins to become very complicated. Even more so as it seems Isla’s time is starting to run out……

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Don’t you just hate it that you have to prove to everyone who you are?

This is one of those animeseries that seems to have nearly every range of emotions contained within it. You will laugh, you will feel excitement, and you will cry. When the series first starts, it looks like the show will develop into a light hearted romantic comedy. There is nothing wrong with that, but a series like that is usually not really my cup of tea. For some reason I decided to stick with it though, and I am very glad that I did. This is an incredibly heartwarming series. As the series progresses there are an increasing amount of very beautiful moments between owners of Giftias that have a hard time letting go of their almost humanlike androids. A young boy for instance, has developed a very strong relationship with a Giftia that has been acting as a kind of mother figure, as his real mum died. There are several moments like these throughout the show, but at the heart of it all is the relationship between Tsukasa and Isla.

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I guess they both don’t like the food and drink on offer. I wonder why?

Tsukasa is a character that has his heart in the right place. At the start of the series he is very inexperienced and tries to do his job as best he can. Even though he certainly makes mistakes, his natural charisma helps him to get through these mistakes and get better. Isla has a lot of experience, but when it comes to human emotions she has a hard time coping with those. At first she feels awkward when Tsukasa seems to be developing feelings for her, even calling it an error. But as is usually the case, true love can’t really be denied, and the bond between the two turns into something truly beautiful. The rest of the characters are made up of their coworkers, and even though some of their roles are minor, they really become an integral part of the story as well. Both in providing comic relief, but also in adding to the many layers this series has. I especially liked the redhead Michiru that even though she denies this has fallen for Tsukasa. She really is a great character that provides some of the best comedy the series has on offer.

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Well, I told you the backgrounds were very beautiful.

The animation style of this anime is rather good, especially when it comes to the backgrounds. The future city this is taking place in, looks amazing and utterly believable. Another strong point and something of a rarity these days, is that the final episode brings the series to a close in a highly emotional and breathtaking way. I do advise you to keep a box of tissues nearby though. Are there any negatives to this one? Well I am hardpressed to find them. There is a very small moment of fanservice in a later episode that I found to be a little out of place. But that scene goes by so fast that you hardly even know it’s there. I highly recommend this series. It’s message throughout is very clear and so true: live live to the fullest and spend as much time as you can with the people you love. Before you know it, time is up. This series plays with that message in an incredible way. This anime shows how precious memories really are, and that you should cherish them as much as you can. Especially the good ones.

I give Plastic Memories a 9 out 10 score.

Demon City Shinjuku, Japanese (animated) movie (1988)

When anime was first introduced in my country, it was done in a way that was completely wrong. Even though that has been a long time ago, when I was in my early teens, I remember watching a news item that mentioned kids were being introduced to a new Japanese artform that focussed on strong violence and sex. As usual the media saw this as an opportunity to sensationalise this, and parents were in an uproar. The anime videotapes that you could buy back in those days, only seemed to bring out movies that were either hentai or contained incredibly graphic violence. And of course the tapes sold like crazy. Not a good way to start my introduction to the wonderful world of Japanese animation. A movie that was featured a lot in the news item I spoke of earlier was Wicked City. In it’s opening scene a man is making love to a gorgeous looking woman, that eventually turns into a spiderlike demonic creature. I swear that every man who saw this scene must have given up on sex pretty much right away….well maybe.

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It might not look like it, but this is one of the most touching scenes in the entire movie.

 

Wicked City was a horrormovie, but a truly disgusting one, with over the top violence and sexscenes that could almost be considered porn. It certainly showed the darker side of anime and is a film that while very infamous, is one you should pretty much avoid seeing. This rather long introduction serves as a stepping stone to the film I am about to review. Demon City Shinjuku is strangely enough directed by the same man that was responsible for the aforementioned movie. But it is a much better film, and could almost be considered as a mild version of the atrocious Wicked City. So there is really no need for concern, or to think that my blog has suddenly turned into a platform for promoting movies that push all the wrong buttons. Are your minds set at ease? Right, let’s get on with the review then.

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This is the prototype version of what we call Starbucks these days. 

High atop the roof of a building in Tokyo two men are locked in mortal combat. With supernatural energy dancing around them, swords clash back and forth, until eventually one of the men is defeated and dies. With a triumphant roar the victor, a man named Rebi Ra, sees the entire city going doing down in a powerful earthquake. He has been possessed by very strong demonic forces and promises that soon the entire world will be enslaved by demons from another realm. Ten years later the moment Rebi Ra spoke of is almost at hand. The World President, that is on a mission of peace to bring together the human race, suddenly gets captured by Ra. This is all part of his plan to stop the only person that might put an end to him, a young man called Kyoya Izayo, the son of the man he killed on the rooftops all those years ago. Meanwhile the president’s daughter, the beautiful Sayaka Rama, tries to enlist the help of Kyoya. At first he wants nothing to do with her, but when she enters the ruins of Tokyo alone, he decides to follow her in. The city is but a former shadow of itself though, and the horrors they find inside might be enough to stop them from preventing Rebi Ra’s plans to enter the entire world in eternal darkness…..

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I wonder what is going through their minds…..

One of the things I love the most about this movie is the incredible atmosphere it breathes out. The ruins of the destroyed city of Tokyo are brought to life in a truly breathtaking way. With subtle touches like still working traffic lights, skyscrapers that have fallen against each other, and other things like that, the city has become an almost living entity. You feel a constant sense of fear and dread, that is just perfect for a horrormovie. The story of the film is one of it’s weaker points. It simply serves to bring our heroes from point a to b, and encounter a new and potentially horrifying creature. And that is another thing this movie does well, the plethora of monsters it serves up. It’s not called Demon City for nothing, as our young hero Kyoya certainly has his hands full at fighting a number of horrifying abominations , while at the same trying to protect the girl.

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No way in hell would I ever enter a place like this. 

The two main characters of the film, Kyoya and Sayaka, are not exactly what you would call well developped. Kyoya is your basic cocky and kind of macho type male, that at first is rather annoying. In fact you kind of wonder how a guy like that can save the world. This all changes of course when he meets Sayaka. She brings an innocence with her, that tempers his bravado, and turns him into a different person. While Sayaka is, for lack of a better term, rather dull, she is certainly brave although also rather stupid. For her to be entering a demon infested city alone without any kind of weapon borders on suicide. All in all though, even though the pair won’t be winning the award for best anime characters ever created, they work just well enough to grow on you. In fact a certain scene with Sayaka near the end of the film is quite beautiful and rather touching.

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That really is a bad way to go out. 

Demon City Shinjuku is a pretty good horror anime film. While the animation is now almost thirty years old, it still looks good enough to draw in people who usually don’t like oldschool anime. With a great atmosphere, some cool fight scenes and horror that never turns gory, what we have here is a film that can be enjoyed by most people that like horrormovies. The only thing worth mentioning on the negative side of things, is that the end of the movie feels a bit anti-climactic. Still though, it doesn’t ruin the movie itself, and I highly recommend the film all the same. If you have trouble tracking down this movie, you can find it on YouTube for free in both a subbed and dubbed version.

I give Demon City Shinjuku a 8 out of 10 score.

A post called “D”

Helly everyone! When you come across the title for this post I can almost imagine the expressions on most of your faces. A post called “D”, what the heck is he talking about? Well….let me explain things, and hopefully it will become clear. I have been blogging for over a year now, and I almost can’t believe it’s been that long. It has been an incredible journey, that had it’s ups and downs, but there is one thing that has made it all worth it. And that is meeting a lot of cool people along the way. Some of them have become very good friends, even though we might never meet in real life. When I first started my blog I was incredibly shy, and also afraid to make a comment on someone else’s blog. (Why would someone be interested in anything that I have to say, right?). Well, I am glad I got over that initial fear, and started doing that, because that is the best thing about blogging: sharing thoughts with other people and becoming part of this community.

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And that brings me to the reason for this post: it is the 8th of October (Well, at least it is right now over here in Holland), and that means it is someone’s birthday today! Now, I know they hate me for writing this post (lol😂), but they are also worth it, so that is why I am doing it anyway. The person who’s birthday it is today should be familiair to most of you that write about anime. And that is “D” from Dtalksanime. ( So, that explains the title for this post: DUH ).And they are just simply put awesome! Not only are their reviews incredibly fun to read, but they are also very kind and always have a nice reply ready for anything you comment on. Not only that, but they also offer cool comments on posts that you write yourself, and it always amazes me that people take time from their busy lives to comment on anything that you write in the first place.

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So why this post? Well “D” has not only become a very good friend, but as some of you have read on their blog they have been going through a rough patch the past few weeks and are currently on hiatus. Life can sometimes be really tough, and make us feel like crap. So I thought it would be a nice idea to write this post, and to let the comment section serve as a happy birthday wishlist for them. In other words: use the comments section below to wish them a happy birthday, and let them know how much we miss their posts. And if you are not yet following their terrific blog, use the link above to subscribe to them! Let me kick this off with saying : “D, my friend, have a terrific day! I know you usually don’t like things like this, but I do hope that this has put a smile on your face. And if not, you can always sent Mei from Another to my house to scare the living daylights out of me! 😂😂 Happy Birthday! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 ”

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Special Features Presents: Embracing the End of life as we know it.

A few weeks ago Karandi from 100wordanime held a contest to celebrate the fact that she had started her Facebook page for her blog. The price for this would be a post written by her on any topic the winner would like. To my big surprise I recieved a message from her telling me that I had won the price! 😀 Now I think most of you already know her as she is I think without a doubt one of the most active bloggers of us all. Pretty much everywhere that I look she manages to give a reaction to posts by other blogs, and also writes a ton of stuff every day for her own blog. She also is one of the kindest persons amongst us, always giving a nice response and needless to say I have the utmost respect for her. It was a great honor to have won this contest, and I asked her to write a post about one of my favorite topics, the post apocalyptic genre. She has made a terrific post for it, the result of which you can find below. All words below are written by her, so if you have yet to discover her wonderful blog, please head over there and subscribe now. I certainly have enjoyed this post, and because it can’t be said enough: thank you very much Karandi for this great price.

Embracing the End of Life as we know it.

This post is for Raistlin who won the 100 Word Anime on Facebook launch competition. Thanks as always Raistlin for your support and for the great topic.
What is the appeal of post-apocalyptic stories? Really, they are set after the end of civilisation as we know it so you could almost assume that any story worth telling was already done and finished. Why not go back and talk about that mutating virus, that war, those final days before the asteroid hit or before the aliens conquered humanity and wiped out everything else?
Well, because that’s hardly the end of the story.
As Ian Malcolm put it in Jurassic Park (or at least the script writers did): life finds a way.
The end of the world is fun and all and watching people try to survive the cataclysm can certainly be good for a few laughs, tears and gasps of surprise, but the more meaningful story, or at least I’ve always found, is in what happens next. What are the next steps for those who don’t disappear in a blaze of glory or have their candle snuffed out?

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As usual, anime has a plethora of examples to draw upon when thinking about any particular genre. And while I was very tempted to make this an Evangelion post when Raistlin first gave me the topic, I resisted temptation because I still haven’t actually gotten around to writing my review of that anime, and ultimately Evangelion is about an absolute refusal to embrace an unpleasant reality and about the many ways people escape or fight against a grim reality.
So where did I look instead?
I actually had to start with Trigun. While not set on Earth, the story takes place after humans for whatever reason have left Earth to colonise another planet, but due to a particular individual they end up crashing onto a desert planet where survival is quite the feat even before you throw in a certain lawless lifestyle. Despite this, and despite some clearly villainous characters, the main cast of Trigun are decidedly optimistic in their outlook on life. Sure, survival is hard, but while the overall situation can’t change, small steps can be taken each day to secure survival and to help others.
It’s really impossible to watch Trigun and not be infected by Vash’s positive outlook. He isn’t some young and naive child clinging to a dream or an illusion to escape the daily grind. He knows how bad things are and he even knows he is actually responsible for some of the issues, and yet he’ll still flash most people that cheeky smile of his and hit them with “Love and Peace”.

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No. 6 is another anime where a main character lives in a world that has been essentially destroyed and the only survivors are in the numbered cities. Privileges are quite restricted and as a child, owing to his intelligence, Shion was on track for a very good life. However, one act of compassion, helping a run-away child, had both Shion and his mother face hardships.
Now, in some stories this would be where the main character became bitter and twisted and would vow revenge against the regime, but Shion is mostly accepting of the situation. He continues to act in a way that doesn’t damage his personal integrity, while finding ways to compromise within the frame of the law. Ultimately his hand is forced and he does go into hiding and finds himself at odds with the city, but even then most of his actions are to save the city rather than to see it brought low.
Both of these characters demonstrate strength and perseverance in the face of inequality and injustice. They put the lives of others before themselves and they seek, in small ways, to make their worlds just a little bit brighter for those around them.

And for me, this is what I love about post apocalyptic stories. They give the best and worst characteristics that humanity carries with them a chance to shine.
Thanks,
Karandi
100wordanime.wordpress.com

Black Bullet, Anime tv series (2013)

You have to wonder what kind of fascination the Japanese seem to have with destroying Tokyo in increasingly inventive ways. We have seen earthquakes, tidal waves, supernatural disasters and even huge monsters laying waste to the city in countless anime and live action movies throughout the years. It provides great entertainment, I have to be honest in that, but it does make me want to know if there is just some kind of hate against this city. Whatever the reason is, in the animeseries I am about to review there is yet another threat against it. Although it is called the Tokyo area in this anime to be more specific.

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This guy certainly isn’t a likeable character in this series. 

It is the year 2021, and the human race has almost been destroyed by the parasitic virus known as Gastrea that turns it’s host into horrifying monsters. What’s left of mankind now lives in cities protected by huge stone Monolith walls that are made from a special material called Varanium, which is able to subdue them. Not long after, children were born that carried the virus within them, but did not turn into monsters. Instead they gained superhuman abilities which were incredibly useful in fighting the Gastrea. Known as the Cursed Children, they were only females. A special fighting force is formed, the Civil Securities, that pairs these children with a handler called a Promoter. The highschool student Rentaro Satomi is one of these Promoters who operates in the Tokyo Area. Rentaro is paired with the loveable Enju Aihara, who has a complete crush on him. But soon things become grim as the Gastrea are beginning to gain ground. Will the remainder of mankind finally fall into oblivion?

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What?! We are not getting a second season?!

Black Bullet is a 13 episode animeseries that for lack of a better term to describe it was just, well, fun. It isn’t the best thing that I have ever seen mind you, but quite honestly it’s one of those series that just doesn’t seem to do much wrong. From a story point of view I can’t say it will win the price for originality. A virus is ofcourse nothing new, although the way it is handled in this series is different from what you might be used to. Another thing that I found that was very cool was the use of the Cursed Children. Here we have young girls ranging from 10-13 years old that have all kinds of superpowers and act as though they are adults. Which ofcourse they are not. It provides both comedic but also at times very grim moments. The story unfolds  rather nicely, and has a few tricks up it’s sleeves along the way, although there were not a lot of surprises.

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If you have a fear of spiders I would definitely watch this….

The characters in the series are not it’s strongest point. The bond between Rentaro and Enju is pretty fun to watch at times. Although some people might also find some of the situations between them a little bit unsettling to watch, as Enju is of course still a child. I don’t think the series crosses any serious lines though, and for the most part it certainly gave a few laughs. During the later episodes a lot of new Cursed Children, also called Initiators are introduced together with their Promoters. And they just don’t get enough screentime to grow any real attachment to them. I felt the series could have used a bit more time to focus on it’s characters instead of throwing them at us without giving us time to get used to them.

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Do you really have to move so close to me? 

What the series may lack in character development it more than makes up for in the action department. If you like action featuring superpowered beings fighting huge and horrifying monsters, this is a show that will certainly give you that. Some of the bigger Gastrea monsters had very cool designs, and it was incredibly satisfying to watch them get taken down in some of the more spectacular fights the series has on offer. But it’s not all monster fighting though, as Rentaro and Enju get to deal with a lot of different situations including assassination attempts and prejudice against the Cursed Children. The animation of the show is pretty good as well, and together with the music serves up a nice and pleasurable viewing experience. All in all I really enjoyed this one. The story for a change gets wrapped up for the most part in the end, although there was certainly room for a second season. Seeing it’s been almost 4 years since the release of this one, I doubt that will happen though. Black Bullet may not be for everyone, but if you like a bit of action coupled with cool monsters and interesting fight scenes, you might give this one a shot.

I give Black Bullet a 8 out of 10 score.