Category Archives: Anime Reviews

Review – Attack on Titan Season 2

ANIME, REVIEW – Ever since the last episode aired on Saturday, Attack on Titan has been receiving mixed opinions whether or not it had a great run. From the sudden change from action-packed to character-heavy writing, Attack on Titan has improved drastically from its previous season.

Spoiler-alert.

Continue reading Review – Attack on Titan Season 2

Review – Koe no Katchi (Silent Voice)

REVIEW – I knew about Koe no Katachi when it was posted by a Facebook page with the description along the words of “tearjerker, beautiful” and what not. The post featured the first few pages of the manga and it was an emotional read. After finishing it’s last manga volume, Kyoto Animation has taken up the job of turning it into an anime film and this article will be my thoughts after watching it.

Spoiler-alert.

Continue reading Review – Koe no Katchi (Silent Voice)

Post-review: Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon – Episode 13

REVIEW – This is one of those rare occurrences where a writer has just acted upon wrong information.

I was led to believe that Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon was ending on its twelfth episode but it seems as I was wrong. A few hours before writing this article, I saw that Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon had updated their list of episodes to include a thirteenth – which caught me by surprise.

This is pretty awkward but I want to give out my thoughts on this episode since the review article I had for Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon was using the thoughts I had for episodes one to twelve.

Here goes…

The thirteenth episode starts around the doubts that Tohru has in staying with Kobayashi – being that she and Kobayshi have different lifespans, thus would cause her great grief if Kobayashi were to die.

As Tohru ponders upon these thoughts, her father arrives and gets her home – much to Kobayashi and everyone’s surprise and grief.

We get to see how Kobayashi deals with the current situation – she has to do housework, taking care of Kanna and maintaining a job all by herself. It is not a light task.

I am also quite content on how Kobayashi reacted initially to this since she did not do the usual anime tropes where “we will find our friend to the ends of the earth because she is our friend.”

She took it maturely by reasoning that it is Tohru’s family matter and she had no right to interfere.

A few months (or probably years), Tohru returns to Kobayashi without her father’s permission does incurring his wrath and a confrontation happens.

I thought it was so great for a character to realize how underpowered she is and still, with head held up high, be a force to be reckoned with.

Kobayashi defended the wants of Tohru and did so knowing that she may or may not die. A dragon versus a lowly female human – armed only by her wits and logic.

It was a great resolution I might say – Kobayashi trying to work out a compromise but got to talk down Tohru’s father instead by saying “have faith in your daughter for once.” It was a great sight to see how this “couple” had started to develop over the course of twelve episodes (I am looking at you, Asuna and Kirito – no timeskips here).

Overall, it was a wonderful conclusion to a cute and somewhat serious anime series.

It showed how despite this series being labeled as a comedy, slice-of-life – it can still function in serious conditions and still give out entertainment to their viewers.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is probably one of the best anime series to have come out from the winter season of this year and it is, definitely, worth your time.

Are you having a bad day? Watch Kobayashi – you will not regret it.

(writer’s note: also the previous article was a grave mistake from me and i hope i wont do this again)

Review: Attack on Titan 2 – Episode 1

REVIEW – Shingeki no Kyojin, or more famously known as Attack on Titan, just released the first episode of the series’ second season. Every fan has waited for a very long time to watch this anime series once more.

Although some people in the community were very displeased to hear that the second season would have a twelve-episode cour, the first episode’s release was met with excitement.

As for this writer, it was a much more… meh kind-of episode.

The second season’s first episode recalled to the events after that whole fist-fight between Annie and Eren, as well as what happened to the rest of the Survey Corps twelve hours prior that time.

The first episode focused on the 104th Survey Corps as they were defending against the titans who broke through Wall Rose twelve hours prior the events caused by the whole Annie and Eren carnage.

The Survey Corps split into four compass groups to warn the near villages as their Squad Leader, Mike (second to Levi), was buying them time and holding off the titans advance. Died, of course, quite horribly.

I find the whole interaction between the newly-introduced Beast Titan and Mike quite entertaining. It captures the whole emotion of fear around Mike as he grasps the situation: “Holy sh*t, this titan can speak Japanese?”

It also appears that the Beast Titan has the capability to control and order around the lesser and unintelligible titans. Quite similar to how Annie Leonhardt does it as the female titan but in a much more direct sense – literally telling them to do this and that.

The episode ends off with the big guys: Eren, Mikasa, Erwin, Levi and friends responding to the whole attack.

For me, this whole episode was showing nothing new other than the existence of the Beast Titan. It felt more like a recap of the previous season’s events and how it will lead to the events next episode.

Overall, it was a pretty disappointing episode for me. I was expecting some sort of thrill and excitement but it came out as a slow paced episode.

I hope the next episodes will pick up faster than this one.

Review: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

REVIEW – Kyoto Animation has always known for it’s “moe” trademark and there’s almost no KyoAni work without a “moe” vibe in it. The only thing special about Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is that it is not a KyoAni original work. This was adapted from a manga series of the same name by the writer and illustrator, Coolkyoushinja.

The anime series’ plot is as follows:

One morning, as office worker Kobayashi gets ready for another day at work, she is greeted by a terrifying sight—the head of a large dragon staring into her eyes from across the balcony. The dragon immediately transforms into a cute, busty and energetic young girl in a maid outfit, who introduces herself as Tohru.

It turns out that during a drunken excursion to the mountains many weeks ago, this typically stoic office worker encountered the dragon who claims to have come from another world. With no place to stay, Kobayashi decides to keep the dragon in her home. In a perfect example of how good deeds are rewarded, Tohru decides to repay her kindness by working as her personal maid. Despite being reluctant and deeply regretful over what she did, a mix of guilt and Tohru’s dragon abilities convinces Kobayashi to accept her.

However, despite being extremely efficient at housework, Tohru’s unorthodox methods of housekeeping often end up scaring Kobayashi and bringing more trouble than help. Moreover, the reason behind the dragon’s arrival on Earth may be more complicated than it seems, as Tohru shares a troubled past. To add it all up, Tohru’s presence ends up attracting other mythical beings to her new home, bringing in a new host of eccentric personalities. Although Kobayashi is trying her level best to adjust to the crazy situation that is unfolding, nothing has prepared her for this new life with a dragon maid.

So first, I will be discussing about this series’ plot. It is quite light-hearted and nothing too serious as it tries to be at times. A struggling office worker finds herself acquainted with a female dragon whilst under the influence of alcohol because “hey, we do crazy sh*t sometimes.”

The first few episodes of the anime series isn’t really that much but picks up in the middle and later parts of the show. Every episode has some sort of joke in it – a punchline, if you will. Tohru, the dragon, has to fulfill her role as Kobayashi’s maid and blend into human society – in numerous, hilarious ways. That is the charm of the show. It is somewhat similar to Nichijou in a sense of episode structures – problem, characters solve the problems in any hilarious way they can, they somehow solve it in the hilarious way possible.

Although, there are specific moments in the show where we get to see some backstories and serious moments – all of which were rather unnecessary for the plot (since there was no escalation and was useless) but added some sort of charm to the characters. It made me, as a viewer, relate to each character on a somewhat personal level.

The characters are pretty straightforward with their attitudes and such. Then again, the backstories (as mentioned), give them a certain charm and makes the viewer understand the reasons of his/her actions.

For example, we are introduced to a character named “Lucoa” or her dragon name “Quetzalcoatl.”

In some interpretations of Aztec mythology, Quetzalcoatl is a serpent/dragon-like goddess who lost her divinity after getting drunk and causing some sort of scandal with her younger sister. The show makes references to that with jokes like this:

Lucoa: *sips an alcohol of some sorts* This tastes familiar.
Tohru: Is it because you got drunk with–
Lucoa: SHUT UP!

It is with these kinds of references and jokes to their real life counterparts that make these characters charming, in a way.

Also, the dragon characters and their misinterpretations with modern human society and comparing them with medieval human societies are also hilarious and charming in a way.

The ending, however, was a unnecessary cliffhanger or not. It’s suggesting a second season but I have yet to hear some news regarding about this.

Now, animation-wise, it is without a doubt that Kyoto Animation has maintained its quality. The wonderful transition of intricate and beautiful to a comical animation style is something to take note of. Kyoto Animation uses this transition well and at the most important, appropriate times.

Talking about music, the opening and ending themes were some of the most catchiest songs I’ve heard so far. The fast-pace and upbeat music paired with wild and funny animations was well done.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is an anime series that shines in its comedic moments with a fair share of background that makes each character relatable and charming in their own special way.

If you are someone who’s having a really bad and stressful time, you’re gonna need this anime series to lift up your spirits.

RWBY Volume 4

REVIEW – Over the span of four volumes, Rooster Teeth has been constantly improving its animation as seen through their animated series “RWBY”. From the clunky and robotic movements in its first volume, this show has come a long way.

After watching the entire volume, I can sum the whole plot in just a few words: “The fairy tale is over”. In the first three volumes, we were always fixated on team RWBY and their antics at Beacon Academy. They experienced a lot of happy, thrilling, and depressing moments but not quite as much as a huge pitfall like in the fourth volume.

The fourth volume takes place after the events in the fall of Beacon.

Ruby Rose along with Jaune, Nora and Ren have taken it upon themselves to seek revenge upon the people responsible for destroying what they love. Yang is recovering after losing her arm in a fight against the White Fang leader. Weiss has been snatched away by her father and is living the life in Atlas. Blake, still reeling from the events, has fled to her hometown of Menagerie.

Out of all the four volumes, this has to be my most favorite so far. It focuses on each of the characters’ development and reactions to the events during the fall of Beacon.

Jaune, being the most affected by these events, is still not coming to terms with Phyrra’s death. This is clearly seen by how he has kept mementos of her on his person – like her weapons, the training lessons and many more.

Ruby has shown to have matured in this volume as the fairy tale is slowly crumbling around her. Unlike before where she was surrounded with friendly people, she is now stranded in a world where there’s too few good left.

Blake has succumbed to her former self and has started blaming herself over what happened to Yang and the events during the fall of Beacon – how she was helpless and unable to do anything useful.

Nora and Ren have been given deeper backstory on how they ended up with each other.

The animation has been done wonderfully considering how fluid the characters’ actions have become and how the environments are getting even more detailed by each episode.

The soundtrack for this volume has been rather done well by Casey Lee Williams. The melodies and lyrics used in each song have clearly set the mood of the entire volume – one filled with chaos, fear and yet hope.

In this volume, we’ve seen more new places like Menagerie, Mistral, Atlas. We’ve also learned more of the world’s history such as the two brothers of light and darkness and how they are related to the Grimm.

This entire volume has been basically a setup for future progressions in the fifth volume. It is the build up towards the endgame wherein the forces of good and evil will clash to settle things once for all.

It was a wonderful watch and I can’t wait for the events that’ll unfold in the fifth volume.

ozpin lives

Hibike! Euphonium 2nd Season

REVIEW – Kyoto Animation continues the “Hibike! Euphonium” anime series with a second season. It showcases the same characters with the addition of a few ones namely Mizore and Nozomi. The season comprises of thirteen episodes and depicts the struggles of the Kitauji high school concert band as they aim to win gold for Nationals.

Hibike! Euphonium is an example of Kyoto Animation’s signature with the stories it tells in each of their adaptations – full of moe. The studio has been known to have moe in most or rather all of their series.

What got me interested in this series in the first place was the fact that it was going to revolve around people involved in music. I, myself, am a musician and like what I do. Seeing an anime series that depicts music in a much wider (though not covering it entirely) scope just warms my heart.

The first season of this series was rather the typical KyoAni moe, slice-of-life story revolving around music. It gets even deeper and in-depth, especially with the characters, in this second season.

The series shows and explains the events that happened in Kitauji’s high school concert band prior to Kumiko’s membership. In the first season, it was vaguely described as a usual club drama. The seniors and juniors had a big argument and therefore caused the club to malfunction.

We are given a general idea of the whole conflict through Mizore and Nozomi’s story. How Nozomi appeared as an angel to Mizore and how Mizore became after Nozomi left the concert band. Albeit cliche but it works for me.

We get to see more depth in Asuka and Kumiko’s character. The series shows us a side of Asuka of being human – a person who has her troubles despite appearing to be the most “perfect” student. Kumiko’s character was given even more depth as she grows to like Asuka and gives her reasons to remain in the band over her mom’s desires.

Again, a bit cliche but it works wonderfully.

This season has been a great one – we’ve seen more character development compared to the last season. It was, as if, the writers decided to take a somewhat serious tone for the story whilst keeping that moe theme in tact and it worked wonderfully.

The ending was well-done with everyone coming to terms with their problems. A new set of officers were set to lead the remaining members of the concert band as the seniors graduated. The way how Kumiko clinged to Asuka so much was a bit weird for me since I felt some Yuri tension in there but nonetheless, I cannot argue.

The animation was praiseworthy as expected from Kyoto Animation but I can’t compare anything in this season to Reina’s scene from last season.

The orchestra soundtrack was impressive as well. I found the Marine’s march rather fun to listen.

This anime series would work well for those who’ve taken a liking to the slice of life and moe genre. If you like that and music, then you’re in for a treat if you watch this show. It may not appeal to all people but it’s worth watching it when you’re a bit down.

 

 

RWBY Volume 4, Episodes 4- 7

REVIEW – RWBY’s recent episodes have been exciting for me. In the fourth episode, we have been revealed about Ozpin’s current state and his relation to the farm hand, Oscar. A good amount of depth to Oobleck, Port, and Taiyang’s character – on how they know each other and their antics at Beacon. We’ve also got a glimpse of Raven and Qrow conversing about the relic and the location of the Spring Maiden – neither got an answer.

Fifth episode, we’ve seen a good amount of the faunus’ home continent, Menagerie. It was interesting to learn about faunus being transported to the continent which resulted in overpopulation in there. We’ve also been shown Blake’s home, her mother and father. Sun was incredibly hilarious to watch in this episode as he tries to mingle with Blake’s parents.

Sixth episode, team RNJR are surprised to see an abandoned city called “Oniyuri.” Ren seems to know a lot about the place considering how he mentioned about his parents investing in the city’s construction. I hope we get to explore Ren’s past – enough for us to understand him and how he ended up with Nora.

In the same episode, we see Weiss’ performance in the charity concert her father organized for the people of Mistral. It was an incredible development of character in Weiss as she firmly expressed her disbelief in the people of Atlas’ selfishness regarding the events in Beacon. Props to General Ironwood for supporting her.

Seventh episode, we get to resume the battle starting between Team RNJR, assisted by Qrow, and Tyrion. Rooster Teeth has displayed their forte: fighting sequences. Although it may not have been the best of animation, it certainly packed a lot of action into me and most viewers. We get a reveal of Tyrion being a scorpion faunus which his tail was later cut at the end of the battle by Ruby.

Also, Rooster Teeth’s adding some profanity in the script which was an indicator of how serious the series was getting. Tyrion calling Ruby a “bitch” after cutting off his tail was just the good stuff.

These four episodes were a roller coaster ride. It was an incredible display of the improvements Rooster Teeth has done in its animation and story writing.

I am in hype as episode eight releases.

RWBY Vol. 4 Episode 3

REVIEW – Rooster Teeth’s animated series, “RWBY” has come a long way ever since it’s first volume. The gradual shift of tone from happy-go-lucky school life to absolute chaos was well-executed in the series’ third volume.

In the third episode, we get to see where Blake has ended up after the Fall of Beacon. She’s somewhat on a “journey” to find herself as she goes home to Menagerie. It was quite depressing to see Blake’s guard up after the chaotic events. In the previous volumes, she slowly opened up to everyone but now, she’s confused on who to trust and who not to.

It was quite hilarious and expected to find Sun following Blake – to her annoyance. I am quite optimistic for a Sun and Blake pairing since that is where the series is going for. Also, the fight scene against the “water dragon” Grimm was epic. Blake and Sun helping each other out and displaying their strengths to bring it down was just exhilarating to watch.

I have to point out the wondrous addition of sunset colors during the entire fight. Rooster Teeth’s animation team has definitely improved. Can’t forget about the water too, they did that quite well.

On the other side of things, Yang has received a mechanical robot arm from General Ironwood – a gift she is quite hesitant to accept. In the episode, we can see how she’s condescended from a strong woman into a helpless and scarred girl. The confrontation with Adam and the lost of her arm really took a toll on her. She’s gotten nightmares and shows little to no enthusiasm at all.

In the enemy’s viewpoint, Salem and Cinder have a discussion about a “relic” of some sort – something Ozpin had. I’ve heard that they might be referring to Ozpin’s staff but I don’t recall any mention in the series about it. Another thing to note, Salem asked Cinder if she killed Ozpin to which she said yes. We still can’t say anything regarding Ozpin since we haven’t seen any body or concrete proof that he was actually dead.

Over-all, the episode shed light to a few things about Blake’s whereabouts, Salem’s concerns and Yang’s recovery.

A review of the fifth episode will be up soon. I’ve decided not to review episode 1 – 2 since I’ve basically talked about it in the article, “End of RWBY’s fairy tale.”

Credits to Koyorin for the feature image.

A look at Kimi no Na wa.

REVIEW – A film that was deemed number one on it’s first opening weekend in the Japanese box office and earned 17.92 billion yen as of November 7, 2016 (www.en.wikipedia.org). Kimi no Na wa is one of the five highest-grossing anime films in history – what could be the reason for its overwhelming popularity?

Kimi no Na wa. is a fantasy anime film written and directed by Makoto Shinkai (5 centimeters per second, Garden of Words), and animated by CoMix Wave Films.

It depicts the story of Mitsuha, a high school girl who is fed up of living in the countryside and wishes to be a “handsome young boy living in Tokyo”. She then wakes up in the body of Taki, a high school boy living in Tokyo. The two realize that they’ve switched bodies and try all sorts of communication to keep their lives in check, ultimately helping one another in their own life problems. However, as time passes on, they’ve lost the ability to contact each other and swap bodies. Taki goes and looks for town of Itomori, in hopes of seeing Mitsuha again.

The film does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. It shows a lot of humor and the slice-of-life aspect as the main characters live in each other’s lives. I was particularly amused as how Mitsuha, a girl, would act in Taki’s body – the clumsiness, the polite and feminine way of speaking distinguishes each character cleanly. Taki would act tough while living Mitsuha’s life, committing some rowdy acts here and there – to the surprise of Mitsuha’s friends. Mitsuha would struggle to hide her feminine side as she talks to Taki’s friends in his body. It’s just great humor and fun to see people swap bodies and how they react.

Animation-wise, the film was splendid and very detailed. The animators spared no effort in creating each and every frame for this film.

As for the soundtrack, the film’s theme “Zenzense” by Japanese rock band RADWIMPS was catchy and upbeat to hear. “Nademoniya” fit the emotions of sadness and desperation as Taki and Mitsuha try to meet despite the impossibility to do so.

The only confusing aspect of the film that I found was how religion and fantasy was connected. It explained the concept of “musubi” and how everyone was connected but not how it got Mitsuha and Taki to meet. But I can get past that.

Kimi no Na wa. is a wonderful and visually-appealing film. It deserves its popularity and is worth your time and money should you go and view it in a movie theater. It’s probably best if you do since you’d be giving money to the creators rather than just torrenting it from the net.

“Why does the scenery of a town that no longer exists wring my heart so?”

– Taki Tachibana, Kimi no Na wa.