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Friday, September 27th, 2013 02:30 pm
 Title: Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (銀河機攻隊 マジェスティックプリンス)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 24
Production: Sentai Filmworks

Official Summary: In the latter half of 21st century, humans leave the Earth and begin to live in space. In order to adapt to the environment in space and deal with the hostile aliens in Jupiter, genetically engineered children called "Princes" are artificially raised and trained to be pilots of armed robots "AHSMB (Advanced High Standard Multipurpose Battle Device). This is a story about one of the teenage "Princes", Hitachi O Izuru, who studies in an academic city Grandzehle. ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: I have a fondness for mecha series, as that was how I was initially introduced to proper anime (through the Midnight Run airing of Gundam Wing and FoxKID's butchering of Escaflowne), so I tend to be more lenient on it than I really should. Majestic Prince comes to us with some fairly familiar character designs, as those who are familiar with things like Infinite Ryvius, Fafner and Gundam Seed can attest. It doesn't take long to dispel though, because this is a different show.

It almost felt more like a slice-of-life with mecha on the side than the reverse of it, the battles don't take center stage until later on in the series. There is some interesting things here - that the kids have had their memories wiped before they became pilots, for one - but really at this point mecha series are so ubiquitous that every one feels faintly familiar after a while. It's going to take something that really stands head and shoulders above the rest to make a lasting impression.

I enjoyed Majestic Prince, but it's really not anything new or noteworthy. If you're a fan of mecha series - or even just a fan of the character designs, you'll probably enjoy it but I can't see myself recommending it otherwise. 
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Friday, September 27th, 2013 02:20 pm
 Title: Gin no Saji ( 銀の匙 )
Year: 2013
Episodes: 11
Production: Aniplex

Official Summary: Yugo Hachiken dreams of life separated from his family, so he takes the initiative by enrolling in an agriculture school. He thinks, with his talent in studying, no problems will arise no matter what kind of school he attends. He is proven wrong very quickly. Raised as a city boy, he is forced to uncover the inconvenient truth about agricultural life. Enjoy the story of Hachiken, as he tries to keep up with his new friends, farmers' heirs, who are already accustomed to the harsh world of farming. With no clear goals or understanding of farming life, how will Hachiken survive this new, cruel reality? The story of a sweat, tear, and mud-stained youth begins! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: I wasn't sure what I was expecting out of this show, as I hadn't read but the first chapter or so of the manga. Gin no Saji is Arakawa Hiromu's second series after Fullmetal Alchemist, and it is definitely an entirely different beast. It's a slice-of-life show, but interestingly educational at the same time. Hachiken spends a lot of his time learning and adjusting, and spends nearly the entire season grappling with the fact that they have to slaughter the animals to eat them. It's a moral quandary with no correct answer that I feel the show handles in an interesting manner.

The animation is very bright and fluid, and I was quite surprised to see the Noitamina tag on this series - but I guess this is definitely not your average slice of life anime! I am glad to see that the series is getting a second season, and I can't wait to see where it goes next.
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Friday, September 27th, 2013 02:06 pm

Title: Free!
Year: 2013
Episodes: 12
Production: Kyoto Animation

Official Summary: The story revolves around Haruka Nanase, a boy who has always loved to be immersed in water, and to swim in it. Before graduating from elementary school, he participated in a swimming tournament along with his fellow swimming club members, Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka. After achieving victory, each of the boys went their separate ways.
Time passed, and in the middle of their uneventful high school lives Rin appears and challenges Haruka to a match, showing Haruka his overwhelming power. Not wanting it to end like this, Haruka, gathers together Makoto and Nagisa once again and brings a new member named Rei Ryugazaki to create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club in order to defeat Rin. - ( MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: This is one of those shows where I have trouble putting thoughts into coherent sentences because ... well, because. This show is adorable and cute and it makes you want to flail about the characters. I don't think I can objectively review it because I want to put my face on the ground and roll around in a flurry of emotion. 

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Thursday, September 26th, 2013 10:15 am


Series: Blood Lad (ブラッドラッド)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 10
Production: Brains Base, Viz Media

Official Summary: Staz is the vampire boss of a section of the demon world, but he has little interest in human blood. He's more infatuated with Japanese culture. When he learns that Yanagi Fuyumi, a Japanese teenage girl, accidentally wanders into the demon city, he jumps to the occasion. However, while Staz deals with an intruder on his turf, the oblivious Fuyumi is killed by a monster and becomes a wandering ghost. The disappointed Staz vows to her that he will find a way to bring Fuyumi back to life. ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: It's stylistic but very messy, and overall the show is middling. Clearly meant to tie in to the manga and boost the manga sales, it doesn't stand alone very well. Only ten episodes, you get maybe an arc or possibly two if you rush past the character introductions, and by the ninth and tenth episodes there's so much going on that if it were meant to be an average shounen show you could tell it would go on into the hundreds of episodes. Alas, not meant to be.

Some of the introduced arcs were interesting, but most of it stank of overused. Vampires, werewolves, demon world - check! The fact that the main character is an otaku - but a powerful character? Eh, somewhat interesting. The plotline that eeked in over the finish line - Staz's older brother challenging the Demon King? That actually got my attention but of course that plotline was introduced in the second-to-last episode and has absolutely no resolution because the show just flat-out stops. The plotline about Fuyumi's missing mother - and how she's connected to Bel's mother - that was actually fairly novel as well, I liked that. Again, things introduced just before the finish line. I'm not sure if I would have like the series more if it was given time to grow or not - fairly typical shounen by way of fanservice, which while wasn't strictly unsettling, the air-inflated boobs character design is so boringly overused. This show had some elements that handled right I would have absolutely loved - but it was so meh that I can't bring myself to really recommend it. Any time I hit up a show like this I get curious about the manga and maybe if it's handled better, so I've added the manga to my 'to-read' list. We'll see.

Would I buy it? Nope. Likely not even if found used, just terrifically unimpressed overall.

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Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 10:15 pm

Series: Karneval (カーニヴァル)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Bandai Visual, Manglobe

Summary: Nai searches for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. Gareki steals and pick-pockets to get by from day to day. The two meet in a strange mansion where they are set-up, and soon become wanted criminals by military security operatives. When Nai and Gareki find themselves desperate in a hopeless predicament, they encounter none other than the country's most powerful defense organization—"Circus"!! ( -MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Okay, let's get this out of the way. The main character looks and acts like Rian. If you know who Rian is, great. If you don't, whatever. I maybe screamed about this for the first half of the show and then fell in love with Yogi for the second half. Regardless, this is an enjoyable show, if a bit middling and confused about what it's doing. Yet another one of those series that should be more than one season and feels like it was planned for longer, but let all these plotlines fall apart in the face of a limited space to tell a story.

I love Circus's character designs - also fascinating to me is their eyes. No one's eyes are a single color. And they're not like, shades of the SAME color, they're, like, yellow with a purple tint and it's so weird and fascinating and unique. I love it. 

Would I buy it? Oh yes. If only for Gareki because reasons, okay. And his questionable, likely-influenced-by-Ed clothing choices.

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Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 09:58 pm
Series: Kakumeiki Valvrave (革命機ヴァルヴレイヴ)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 12
Production: Sunrise, Aniplex

Summary: True Calendar (T.C.) 71 - A new age where 70% of the human population lives in space thanks to the development of "Dyson Sphere", a city in space.

The world is divided into two main powers: The Dorssia Military Pact Federation, a power which grew out of a military alliance, and the Atlantic Rim United States (ARUS), which grew in power as it expanded its trade agreements. The minor nation of JIOR has declared neutrality between these two forces and maintains its peace through economic prosperity.

Within the JIOR's Sphere, Haruto Tokishima lived an ordinary life as a high school student in the division known as "Module 77"—until the Dorssian military begins their sudden invasion!

But the whole world will be shaken when Haruto meets the mysterious humanoid weapon, Valvrave! ( -MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Another series that I was unsure of at the start, that it turned out I loved. While there are certain .. aspects ... of it that I wish hadn't occured, overall the series took a tired premise and put a bunch of newer spins on it that mashed together and made things more interesting to me. Most of the characters I'm ambivalent to - Haruto has possibility to go either way, but L-Elf fascinates me. The whole lot of the cast becomes more and more fascinating as the season progressed, and I have to say that the last pilot's identity ended up surprising even me, and I loved that twist.

I'm glad this one is getting a second season, and that there is more to it. Shoko too, she is amazing, I feel remiss in not mentioning her awesome. She is a new generation's Relena and I am glad to see that there is not the hate that Relena got. (I think it helps somewhat that her character is more personable, but their roles are quite similar.) I'm not as big into mech shows as I once was, I burned out on them fairly quick as they start to blend together quickly, so it's nice to have one that stands out. It's a Sunrise production though, so that explains a lot. There's also this faint tinge of CLAMP to the character designs - they're clearly not, but you can feel the echoes of Geass here.

Would I buy it? Definitely. I enjoyed the season way more than I thought I would, and may even rewatch it.
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Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 09:15 pm
Series: Hataraku Maou-sama! (はたらく魔王さま!)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Lantis, Pony Canyon, White Fox

Summary: Devil King Sadao is only one step away from conquering the world when he is beaten by Hero Emilia and forced to drift to the other world: modern-day Tokyo. As "conquering the world" are the only skills the Devil King possesses—and are obviously unnecessary in his new situation—he must work as a freeter to pay for his living expenses! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Oh my god I thought this show was fantastic. I loved it. My biggest qualms are its wasted potential - there are so many bits of the storyline that could be explored, both on a serious side (Sadao killed a shit-ton of people on Ente Island, he was kinda insane? We just ignoring that? Okay then.) and otherwise. But this was only a single season show, wasn't like they had the time to do two-season story arc. I don't care how many times I have to complain about the new turn of single-season shows, because I will. Every damn time. Ahem.

Oh man, the characters were fantastic. All of them. I love how Alsiel and Sadao just acclimated and became domestic. I loved Lucifer the hikkikomori, Emilia and her best friend, Sadao working at McDonald's - forgive me, MgRonald's - all of it. 

I might have had a tiny shitfit at the blue-haired cupid Sariel. Tiny little one. Eensy. I may have not scraped Sariel!Ed off the ceiling yet. 

Would I buy it? Heartbeat. Yes. Get into my bookshelf.

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Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 08:22 am

Series: Devil Survivor 2 (デビルサバイバー2 THE ANIMATION)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Mainichi BroadcastingPony CanyonSentai FilmworksBridgeDevil Survivor 2 Animation CommitteeIndex

SummaryMysterious invaders called the Septentriones arrive in Japan and begin attacking the country on a Sunday. To fight back, the heroes in Devil Survivor 2 signed a pact with the devil to become the Thirteen Devil Messengers. The Septentriones show up at least once a day and you have a time limit of seven days to defeat them. ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: An adaptation of another of the Shin Megami Tensei series; Devil Survivor 2 follows in Persona 4: The Animation's footsteps to be exactly like the walkthrough of the game. The benefit to me, however, is that I haven't played the Devil Survivor series (and now, I don't have to!), so the story was entirely original to me. 

It did feel like playing a game, though, with the added bonus of having absolutely no control over the circumstances or the battles. The animation was slick, and the storyline wasn't bad - but it felt like it was lacking something. I enjoyed it overall, the characters were mostly likable, the battles were huge and the quickly deteriorating setting was interesting. The music was not as memorable as P4, but the ending theme was used fantastically. I tend to like it when they can bleed the theme over the last bit of the episode, it adds such heavy atmosphere, especially with the ending song for this series.

Would I buy it? Possibly, if I found it on sale or used. Does not have a particularly high rewatch value for me, but I did enjoy it.

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Saturday, July 13th, 2013 12:34 pm
Series: Arata Kangatari ( アラタ カンガタリ ~革神語~ )
Year: 2013
Episodes: 12
Production: Satelight, Lantis, JM Animation

SummaryEvery 30 years, a new princess is chosen from the Hime family to serve the Hayagami. The time has come again, but over these past years, records state not a single female has been born, save for one, the 15-year-old Arata. The only problem is, Arata is actually a male! Forced to disguise himself and take the place of the princess candidate until a formal one can be found, he attends the festival only to witness the current princess, Kokuri-hime, murdered, and his own life is forfeit as well, by the hands of the princess' personal guard, the 12 Shinshou. As he runs for his life, Kannagi of the 12 convinces everyone that Arata is the one who has murdered the princess instead, and now everyone in the Imperial Court is after his head! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Fairly mediocre show, it had a lot of promise to it but being cut short at 12 episodes meant that instead of being a more fun action romp, it kinda just ... died. Nothing is resolved - oh, the main shounen hero got a power-up! - but ... yeah. It just kinda stops and I really fucking hate that that's a thing now. Maybe if this show gets a second season my opinion will improve, but I'm really fucking sick of the way that is being handled - one 12-episode season, and poof. Done. It doesn't lend itself to the storytelling, the shows tend to be paced badly and wander all over the place, characters get forgotten or poorly developed, and plot holes. Plot hooooooles.

It is interesting how the bullying is handled in the show, though. I am also sad that we didn't get to see that much of the "other" Arata running around in Hinohara's life, because I'm sure that is greatly entertaining. Ah, well.

Would I buy it? Likely not, not as it stands now. If it got a second season and that rocked, then maybe.

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Saturday, June 29th, 2013 01:45 pm
Series: Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (断裁分離のクライムエッジ)
Year: 2013
Episodes: 13
Production: Media Factory, Sentai Filmworks, Studio Gokumi

Summary: Haimura Kiri is a seemingly ordinary boy with one slight problem: he is obsessed with cutting other people's hair. One day he meets Mushiyanokouji Iwai, the "Hair Queen" who cannot cut her hair because of an inherited curse. Kiri finds out that his scissor, "Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge" is the only thing that can cut them. But little did he know that their meeting sparked the start of an old murder game to kill the "Hair Queen" using the cursed killing tools, the "Killing Goods." Can Kiri protect Iwai from the Killing Goods Owners? Let the game begin! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Hm. I really don't know what to think of this show, it was ... strange. Not particularly outstanding, pretty mediocre as far as things go. The story line felt as if it was a mish-mash of several different series, due to the moe aspect and the fighting series aspect, plus the whole murderer aspect. There's a lot of little bits that are intriguing in that vein - especially the Killing Goods, the original murderers and the effect that the cursed weapons have o the Authors, and fortunately the series focuses a lot on that. There are so many characters that are slightly shoehorned in, that you see a few times and don't turn up again. There are also things that seem like they might be important that are just dropped by the wayside, forgotten bits of story and plotlines.

The series feels entirely too disjointed. I hear that there may be a second season and if that's the case I'll watch it simply to see if more episodes helps tie it together more soundly. The characters are both at the same time interesting and flat, like the character creation model stopped halfway through. 

Would I buy it? Likely not. It's not generally the type of show to appeal to me for a second watch-through, even if I wasn't so perplexed by it. I would give this series a pass unless you're already invested in the series, or enjoy really strange storylines. (Or, like Kiri, have an almost perverse fetish for hair-cutting.)
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Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 10:19 pm
Series: Kannagi (かんなぎ)
Episodes: 13 +
 1 OVA
Year: 2008
Animation Production: Aniplex

Synopsis: Our unlucky protagonist, Jin, uses the trunk of a sacred tree to carve a statue for a school project. When he takes it outside, to his surprise it begins absorbing the surrounding earth and transforms into, hold your breath on this one, a girl! So like all similar setups this guardian deity is pretty pissed that her tree was cut down and lives with Jin while she takes out her anger on squashing, cleaning the "Impurities". ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: A mostly benign, cute series. Not as SUPER moe as some out there, but definitely in the genre. There really isn't anything particularly stand-out about the show that would make me want to sing its praises or groan in agony. The animation is pretty, the character designs consistent - and I do have to admit I laughed my ass off at the wand being stuck to the center of the kotatsu table. 

I do admit that the show feels aimless. It starts out like it has a grand mission to accomplish, and just kinda wanders around and never really gets to the point. The climax of the series feels like, well, not quite what the show had been building toward, but I would wager that on this being just a one-off season to satiate manga fanatics with no intention of following through to greater story lines.

Would I buy it? Nope, not really interested.
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Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 10:10 pm
 Series: K
 Episodes: 13
 Year: 2012
 Animation Production: GoHands

Synopsis: Set in a world where history has taken a slightly different course from the one we're familiar with, K follows the story of a young boy whose life is caught in a psychic war between seven kings.

Ashinaka High School is known for its unique setting: the entire campus is built on an island. Yashiro Isana, aka Shiro, is having lunch with a cat on one of the school rooftops. After his lunch break, Shiro goes on an errand for his classmate Kukuri to prepare for their upcoming school festival, only to be chased by some intimidating-looking men.  ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: Well, this was a snazzy show full of absolutely nothing. The animation was pretty. The character designs are fairly generic - you can pick out each character and what other show you've seen that exact same character design with the same generic stereotype tropes in. The story seemed like it had some promise but very quickly fell apart - and the climatic storyline doesn't really have all that much to do with the original main character. 

It's just, this show is a mess. A very pretty mess, but a mess. Given two seasons and maybe some more time to figure out what the hell they were doing, it might have made more sense and been a tighter show. There are so many plot elements that are briefly glossed over and never really engaged, it had far too many characters with their own individual storylines and, wow. Just a clustfuck.

Would I buy it? Nope. Pretty, shallow and flashy.
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Monday, May 20th, 2013 08:18 am
Series: Jormungand: Perfect Order ( ヨルムンガンド PERFECT ORDER)
Episodes: 12
Year: 2012
Animation Production: White Fox

Official Synopsis: 
A ruthless arms dealer on a quixotic quest for world peace. A child soldier born into chaotic conflict. Their lives will intertwine as they journey together through the seedy underbelly of the world's arms market. ( - MAL ) 

Catie's Thoughts: An interesting series. Definitely a lot more real-world political than most anime. The least realistic thing about the entire series is Koko herself, and she takes a turn for the super-villainy late in the series with the reveal of what Jormungand actually is. The fascinating thing is, while her ultimate goal and plan is definitely something you would expect coming from a bad guy, it is never played out as such. In fact, her plan is put into motion at the very end of the series. 

Also, the treatment of the child soldier Jonah is interesting as well. He is treated exactly as that, a child, up to the point where they put a gun in his hands and point him at the enemy. At that point he becomes an equal, but as soon as the firefight is over they're back to treating him like a little kid. The characterization is something different, that's for sure.

Would I buy it? Possibly. It is definitely a breath of fresh air when you're watching back-to-back, high-school-uniform kids use psychic magic to blow each other up or complete fantasy anime. This series, a good chunk of it could be played out on regular network television, what with their proliferation of spy and crime shows.

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Thursday, May 16th, 2013 07:42 pm
Series: Hyouge Mono (へうげもの)
Episodes: 39
Year: 2011
Animation Production:  Bee Train, NHK, Sogo Vision

Official Summary:  The story is set during Japan's Sengoku Jidai (Era of the Warring States) and centers on Furuta Sasuke, a vassal of the great warlord Oda Nobunaga and a man obsessed with tea ceremony and material desires in his pursuit of a fortuitous life. Having learned from Oda and the legendary tea master Sen no Soueki, Furuta walks the way of the Hyouge Mono. ( - MAL )  

Catie's Thoughts: This series is, hm. Interesting. It's not a typical anime, shonen affair. It's a very political show, heavily entrenched in samurai feudalism and aesthetic sense. Wabisabi is the name of the game, the pursuit of the imperfect, the flawed and the transient.

I honestly don't know what to think of this show. It is slow-moving, occasionally ridiculous, but at the same time it feels far more realistic than not. In fact, it's fairly easy to see this as a J-drama instead of an anime. The series is framed by tea ceremony, by the political games of the daimyo, and of course the pursuit of wabisabi. What's really interesting to see is Japanese society at large here, the mark of how bushi and aesthete could be rolled into the same package, the interactions of the difference classes and the very strict social cues observed at all times.

I think, overall, I enjoyed it. It was certainly different, and in a good sense.

Would I buy it? I honestly doubt it would ever get licensed in the first place, it is such a niche show in a niche genre. But I don't think I would mind having it on my shelf, even if I don't know I would sit through it again. It is certainly an acquired taste.
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Sunday, May 12th, 2013 08:48 am

Series: Hiiro no Kakera Dai ni Shou (緋色の欠片 第二章)
Episodes: 13
Year: 2012
Animation Production: Studio DEEN, Sentai Filmworks 

Official Summary: Every girl dreams of being an enchanted princess, but how many stop to think about all the grim and horrible things that happen in fairy tales? That's a lesson Tamaki learns all too graphically when she's attacked by creatures she thought only existed in myths! Fortunately, she's rescued by an extraordinary young man: one who's not only part demon; but her future classmate as well, and one of the group of protectors that Tamaki will need if she's going to fulfill her destiny as a Tamayori princess. A destiny that no one's bothered to tell her she's inherited until just now! And if it wasn't bad enough to learn that every plan she'd had for the future has to change, to top it all off, Tamaki still has to start attending a new high school as well! ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: UGH. There is absolutely nothing new or unique to this series, it brings nothing to the table that other shows haven't done better before. I don't even want to say it had the potential to do more, because it's as pretty bland as an anime series can be. I realize it's based on a dating sim-type game, but still.

I only watched this season simply to finish out the story, because the first season doesn't really have an end per se - it's one of those where they just cut the two seasons separate and released them a season apart. It's an annoying trend in Japan right now.

Would I buy it? lol no.

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Sunday, May 12th, 2013 08:32 am
Series: Shinsekai Yori (新世界より)
Episodes: 25
Year: 2012
Animation Production:  Aniplex, TV Asahi, A-1 Pictures, Pony Canyon, Sentai Filmworks

Official Summary: A millennium from now, in Japan, exists a utopia. The Protagonist, Saki Watanabe, lives in an idyllic village barred from the outside world. Her world is ruled by the people who possess the "gods' power" of psychokinesis. After finally obtaining her own powers, Saki enters the Zenjin Academy to train along with five other children: Satoru Asahina, Maria Akizuki, Mamoru Itou, Shun Aonuma, and Reiko Amano.

Not all is as it seems, however. In this Utopian village, strange rumors about a monstrous cat that abducts children circulate, and students are said to disappear from the academy. The world and its history are much darker than they appear and humanity is on the verge of collapse. ( - MAL ) 

Catie's Thoughts: A fascinating premise, and an interesting show. The anime is paced ... oddly, there are two time-skips and at least one bit of story arc that was so dull I might have dropped the show if I wasn't watching it with someone else. But when this series gets good, it gets GOOD. There's a lot of underlying mystery to their world, and you want to have all the questions answered. (And, for the most part, they are all answered.) It is almost a horror anime, but at the same time not. I certainly didn't hate it, but I can't quite say I liked it. 

Would I buy it? In truth, likely not - I can't see myself watching the show again. Don't let that say anything about the quality, because it is a fantastic show and I do recommend it. It unsettled me greatly, I don't think I want to watch it again.

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Sunday, April 28th, 2013 12:54 pm
 Series: Hakuouki Sekkaroku (薄桜鬼 雪華録)
 Episodes: 6
 Year: 2011
 Animation Production: Studio DEEN, Sentai Filmworks

 Official Summary: The protagonist, Yukimura Chizuru, is the daughter of a doctor who works in Edo. The father leaves Edo to work as a volunteer doctor and moves to Kyoto without his daughter. As time passes by, Chizuru starts worrying about losing contact with her father, so she decides to go to Kyoto in search of him. On the way, Chizuru is attacked by few criminals and witnesses a fight between an oni and the Shinsengumi. Taking her into custody and saving her, the Shinsengumi debate on what to do with Chizuru when they discover that she is the daughter of the doctor they are also looking for. So they decide to become Chizuru's protectors and help her look for her father (the doctor). Lots of events happen while she stays with the Shinsengumi, as they discover mysterious secrets and also fight against the Bakumatsu group. The story is overall romantic with a historical and political background. ( - MAL )

 Catie's Thoughts: Okay so, Hakuouki. This particular series is an OVA aside to the main storyline, mostly focusing on a single "mission" that Chizuru ends up getting involved in that has her infilitrating Shimabara as a geiko in order to eavesdrop on some loyalists. Most of the episodes examine the encounter from different angles, with certain events taking place in the foreground/background. It's pretty much just added fluff for the fans, of which there are plenty.

I am of two minds about Hakuouki. One is full of foam and fangirl flail, and the other just kinda sighs and mourns over the fact that there is a deeply woobified, prettyboy Hijikata. I have given up and just let the flail carry through, especially since Hijikata is voiced by Shinichiro Miki (Roy Mustang in FMA: Brotherhood), and Kondou is voiced by Ohkawa Toru (Roy Mustang in FMA '03). Things that fuck with my mind, 101: both Roys in the same scene. Often.

(Shinichiro Miki turning up doesn't ping my flail-dar because he is in everyfucking thing. Well, either him or Koyasu. No, it pings my flail-dar because he's playing motherfucking Hijikata Toshizou in epic long-haired prettyboy state with flowing kimono and hakama and purple eyes and then WHOOPS THERE'S THE OTHER ROY. My fangirl heart can't take it.)

Fortunately the OAV doesn't really divert in to the rakshasa storyline, which, while somewhat novel, adds a whole additional layer of oh my god what to the original series. It isn't dramatic and tragic enough to have a harem otome game set during the bakumatsu in the Shinsengumi, we've got to add actual oni to it as well! Spoiler alert: ROMANCE GAMES SET WITH THE SHINSENGUMI IN THE BAKUMATSU END BADLY. At least it wasn't sugar-coated, somewhat accurate despite the wtf-worthy supernatural bent, and kept true to several historical dates.

Would I buy it? I seriously cannot decide. On one hand, I liked it. On the other hand, I can go off on tangent-rants for days. Ultimately probably yes because I have a horrible soft spot for the Shinsengumi despite myself.
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Sunday, April 21st, 2013 03:31 pm
Series: Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun (八犬伝 -東方八犬異聞-)
Episodes: 13
Year: 2013
Animation Production: Bandai Visual, Studio DEEN, Sentai Filmworks

Official SummaryWhen their village was wiped out five years ago, only Shino Inuzuka, Sosuke Inukawa, and the girl Hamaji, who was raised as if she were their sister, survived. And both men inexplicably have the same peony-shaped birthmark. Genpachi Inukai and Kobungo Inuta were raised hundreds of miles away as foster brothers, but they too share the same birthmark. When they went north as part of the army three years ago, they went to confront demons and came back forever transformed. Now the Imperial Church has come for Shino and Sosuke and they must find eight mystical gems and their owners or face a fate worse than death at the hands of the Church. ( MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: One of the first anime series I picked up without having seen anything about it on television first was the original Hakkenden anime from 1990. That was an adaptation of the original samurai legend of the Eight Dogs of the East, and as such I have fond memories of the series despite its very obvious flaws.

That being said, I was very unsure of this adaptation from the beginning. The main character is still Shino, but now ... he's a thirteen year old? With purple hair and typical shounen attitude and I was put off almost immediately. I kept watching, however, because I wanted to know how much they had butchered the legend I was so fond of ... only to get sucked in completely, and by the third episode I had turned into a bundle of flail. The story that the series is going with hits several of my favorite tropes dead-on, so I am hooked. Plus the characters are very entertaining, and while the original legend is taking a bit of a backseat to more supernatural tropes, it started to pick up speed right near the close of this series. However this is going to be like Fate/Zero, where the full series is at least two seasons, they just spaced them a season apart. Now I have to wait until the summer to get more, and I will be pouting the entire time.

Would I buy it? Resounding yes. I disclaim that this series hits a lot of my narrative kinks personally, may not be for everyone, but ahhhhh. I love it. Would definitely watch again.
catystorm: (Default)
Saturday, April 13th, 2013 05:00 pm
Series: Gintama' Enchousen (銀魂' 延長戦)
Episodes: 13
Year: 2012
Animation Production: Sunrise, TV Tokyo, Aniplex

Official Summary: Sakata Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi Shimura continue to scrape a living as freelance jack-of-all-trades at Edo while amidst the several odd humans and aliens that inhabit the peculiar metropolis.  ( - MAL )

Catie's Thoughts: I somehow doubt that this is the last we'll see of Gintama, not even bothering to include the movie that's coming out in July. It's just that type of show. Gintama is really hit and miss with me sometimes, certain arcs I adore, other ones I'm just kind of like "...really?" The gags are always a mile a minute, although occasionally they drag a joke out far, far too long - but that's just another type of humor that may not be for everyone.

Suffice it to say, however, that I will certainly be watching the movie, and if any more Gintama makes an appearance I'll certainly be watching that as well.

Would I buy it? ..honestly probably not, there are far more shows I'd rather rewatch. But I would probably pick up the movie(s) on DVD, if anything, because I do really like the show, I just don't need to own the regular seasons. (I feel this way about Bleach and, to an extent, Inuyasha.)
catystorm: (Default)
Saturday, April 13th, 2013 02:21 pm
 Series: Fairy Tail (フェアリーテイル)
Episodes: 175
Year: 2009
Animation Production: A-1 Pictures, Satelight

Official SummaryLucy is a 17-year-old girl, who wants to be a full-fledged mage. One day when visiting Harujion Town, she meets Natsu, a young man who gets sick easily by any type of transportation. But Natsu isn't just any ordinary kid, he's a member of one of the world's most infamous mage guilds: Fairy Tail. ( - ANN )

Catie's Thoughts: CAN'T. FEELINGS. (AKA: Catie just watched 175 and is lying face-down on the floor in a puddle of tears and feels. So fucking awesome. So fucking awesome.)

Is Fairy Tail perfect? No, not by a long shot. There is uncomfortable fanservice, questionable characters and depictions, and it tends to suffer from the epic battle shounen syndrome. But it does so much right, and despite being a long-running epic shounen fighting series, it never feels like it gets old. It has a wide cast of characters and often changes them out. It doesn't forget where it comes from. It has a lot of strong female characters, a diverse cast of them, many and varied who rarely take a back seat to the boys. I just, I can't even. I AM SO GLAD THIS IS JUT PROBABLY ON HIATUS AND THAT THERE WILL LIKELY BE MORE. But technically "this" series is over, so it is marked as completed. FOR NOW.

Would I buy it? Yes yes a thousand times yes, why don't I own all the R1 blu-ray releases yet TO AMAZON I GO. The only thing stopping me from doing an entire rewatch right this second is the other shows I am horribly behind on.