Halftime Review: Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

It’s the middle of may which means the anime spring season is in its half. Many shows are entering their second half and Devil Survivor 2 The Animation is one of them. Sadly, not all of those shows developed well in their first six episodes. And again Devil Survivor 2 The Animation is one of them.

 

Devil Survivor 2

I remember when I praised that show for being like a “more mature” version of Pokémon and Digimon. I was so wrong… it’s more like a smartphone app that came to life with all the negative sides of a smartphone app. And that probably did not make any sense at all.

After watching six episodes of that 13 episode anime I came to the conclusion that I will not continue to watch Devil Survivor 2 simply because it bores me. Why? Well, there are many reasons.

First off: The story. It seems they wanted to pack all the cliches they could find into that one show, be it the oncoming end of the world, battles against giant aliens, children protagonists in a battle that should be fought by adults and so on. Even the antagonists which are aliens look like modified versions of the Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion and just like them, they appear out of nowhere and start destryoing things. There is pretty much nothing original or smart in this show, it’s very easy to predict what is going to happen next and then exactly that happens. This got to a point at which I even stopped caring about what is going to happen because there was no excitement.

Then there are the characters. Again that cliche thing. You have your main protagonist, Hibiki Kuze who gains a power greater than everything he’s seen so far and stronger than those of his friends and he decides to use this power to protect anybody. He also tries to get away so they aren’t endangered even more and this has happened so many times… There aren’t even real motivations for Hibiki, he just runs away from his friends thinking he can protect them this way. Daichi Shijima makes use of the cliche of the guy who gets a super power but it’s pretty weak and he wants to become stronger. Stronger so he can be useful and help the others. Sadly he’s very obnoxious. And to complete the circle of average protagonists we have Sakura, I mean, Io Nitta. She’s useless. I don’t know why she’s even there. Anything she did so far could easily be done by other characters and she in herself isn’t significant in any way.

Despite the major flaws there is one upside to this show and that is the animation. It looks really good and the studio did a great job on the demons and fighting scenes but that alone doesn’t help the anime overall. Another issue I had was with the voice over for Hibiki (or all the characters, I don’t really remember). His lips move for over half a second in silence before his voice actor, Hiroshi Kamiya, starts speaking. If you don’t pay attention you might not realise it but as soon as you do, you can’t get rid of that fact. I don’t know what happened there because Kamiya is usually a good seyuu for example as Otonashi in Angel Beats, Koyomi Araragi in the Monogatari series or Izaya Orihara in Durarara!!.

After about the 4th episode the anime felt more like work than enjoyment. “I have to get through this now otherwise it will stack up and I’ll never going to watch it…” is never a good sign when you start thinking like that.
While the videogame might be very good and enjoyable the anime is not and it’s probably not getting better in the second half of its run. It’s not worth your time and there are many shows way better than that which use the same concept. You could go watch Neon Genesis Evangelion or if you not into sci-fi there is always Shadow Star Narutaru. Even Pokémon and Digimon did better jobs with their anime adaptions. That being said, there are many alternatives to Devil Survivor 2 The Animation and you would be far better off to choose one of them instead of this. Thank you for your time.

Rebuild of Evangelion 3.33: You can (not) redo Anime review!

Finally, Rebuild of Evangelion 3.33: You can (not) redo.  Or how I like to call it: The Show-off of Evangelion 3.33.  Don’t get me wrong I liked the movie. It was very good  and enjoyable but not perfect. Or as good as 2.22. Still, I waited so long for this movie, got my expectations very high up, even watched 1.11 and 2.22 on Blu-Ray right before I watched 3.33 and was not disappointed. It just went a little different than expected.

Evangelion Girls!

The film starts with a super special awesome space action scene. Really, it was great! It had Asuka and Mari and Evangelions and Angels and space! Who’d even dare to ask for more? What a fantastic way to start the movie. But from there things got weird. Main protagonist Shinji Ikari wakes up from a long sleep, 14 years to be perceise, and he didn’t grow an inch. The Third Impact has happened and many things changed.

We’re not at NERV anymore we moved on to WILLE. And for some reason WILLE wants to destroy NERV. Also, Misato is captain of WILLE. They are just throwing information at the viewer that confused even me a bit especially since Asuka, Mari and Shinji did not age at all! For heavens sake, they’re 28 years old now and look like 14 year olds! The only explanation for that is a one liner calling this fountain of youth the “curse of the EVA”. Nope… 14 years was too big of a time skip in my opinion. This doesn’t stop anyone though from more epic action scenes. And they all looked just so… pretty. This is where the showing-off takes place, in the battle scenes. They must’ve thought “Hey, we got loads of money now! Let’s make beautiful battle scenes and giant flying ships! A whole fleet of them. The fans will love it!” And they were right. The animation was so smooth and everything looked amazing in those scenes. It was truly epic and it must’ve been mindblowing watching that in cinema on a giant screen.

Ships

Into the sunset!

Besides lots of action scenes the movie also had a lot of Shinji. Which makes sense since he’s the main protagonist, but that was a lot of Shinji. The only person with nearly as much airtime was Kaworu Nagisa. In the series he was already a sympathetic character and this didn’t change in the movie. He’s smart, friendly, Shinjis biggest fan and the real star of the film. His build up from beginning to ending was very well done and his relationship to Shinji thought out in a way that was more ‘pleasant’ than in the series. Yet these two are only second when it comes to duos because Asuka and Mari were amazing together. Really, they were a perfect team and gave the film its pretty much only comedic moments thanks to their interaction with each other.

Asuka

The ultimate badass

In addition to the almost lack of comedy there was also something else missing that made Evangelion known for what it is today. The mind fucks. Sure, they were there but not as strong or impactful as they were in 2.22 for example. It had some “What the hell is going on?” scenes in but that was more confusion than actual mind fuck. Questions were raised that were never answered and probably vital information was left out completely. The focus was really on the action scenes and if you like action you’ll like 3.33. Like mentioned earlier they did a fantastic job with those scenes throughout the film.

I feel like You can (not) redo is kind of a build up to the fourth and final movie. It raised more questions than it answered and had a rather open ending. Questions like “What happened to humanity after the Third Impact? Did almost all of them die?” “What happened to the original Rei Ayanami?” “Where the heck is PenPen?” “And where was the Mari fanservice I was promised in the after credit scene from 2.22?” With all those questions in mind the ending didn’t satisfy me completely even though it was a good ending. The ending itself delivered but I was left there on my bed wanting more. Well, what I then got after the credits was a short preview with new action scenes for 4.44 and a new promise that there will be fanservice! I hope this time it’s true.

Where Rebuild really shined, as always, was the soundtrack. Shiro Sagisu is probably one of the best anime composers Japan ever had and he never fails to impress. I love his works and he deserves to be mentioned here. Sagisu is amazing.

God’s Gift

All in all Rebuild of Evangelion 3.33: You can (not) redo was still a great and enjoyable film. It was different from its predecessors in many ways but that is what you have to expect after a 14 year time skip. Watch it.
And if it’s true that 4.44 really comes out this year, 3.33 was really more of a build up to the final Rebuild of Evangelion film which will hopefully answer all those raised questions in an epic Evangelion extravaganza which blows everybodys mind. And please make it a bit longer. Really, I wouldn’t mind a whole 2 or even 3 hours of film. 4.44 deserves it. With that being said I’m going to end this review on a positive note and rewatch You can (not) redo. Kyou no hi wa sayounara.

 
Sidenote:
In the last article I wrote that I’m going to do first impressions of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S and Suisei no Gargantia. I will still write about both shows but rather as full review for Gargantia and mid-season review for Railgun. I hope nobody got their hopes up for those. xD If so I’m sorry. So so sorry.

First Impression #2: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru and Ketsuekigata-kun!

It’s been a while but me haz returned! Sorry for not posting anything the past weeks, I didn’t really feel like it and had some things to take care of. Anyways, let’s get down to business.

Over the past few weeks many animes have started and I picked up eight of them. Tbh, I did not expect this to happen because I did not think really highly of this season at first. Well, I’ve been proven wrong. On todays First Impression we have: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru and Ketsuekigata-kun!

FI

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru (The titles are getting longer and longer, don’t they?) or “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU” seems like your typical high school romantic comedy involving three main protagonists. We have our antisocial high school student who has no friends, Hachiman Hikigaya, our hyperactive girl who tries to fit in and one more Yui to add to our collection (srsly, they are so many) Yui Yuigahama – Double Yui – and the slient yet very beautiful heroin Yukino Yukinoshita. Yui and Yukino must have so creative parents! Anyways, this is our set up. Typical, like I said.

Yui, Yukino and Hikigaya

If it’s so typical why should one watch it? Well, it has Hikigaya. He might fall into the usual “loner without friends, bored with life, can’t talk to girls” archetype but he’s totally fine with it. He doesn’t want friends, is fine with himself and wants all the others to kill themselves. This is why he ends up in a club that only has one member and, surprise surprise, this member is the most beautiful girl in the whole school, Yukino Yukinoshita. But what is that club? Simple, it’s the glorious volunteers club. “What?”, you may ask. “There are those who, out of the goodness of their hearts, provide for those who are in need. Society calls them volunteers. We extend a helping hand to those in need. That is why the club exists.” That!

Exactly!

Hikigaya ends up to be Yukinos newest ‘client’ even though he has no problems what so ever when it comes to him. Naturally they both don’t like each other right away because she’s beautiful and she knows it while he hates everybody especially the popular kids. Soon he finds out that Yukino isn’t all so popular because people have to tendencies to dislike those that are better than them, resulting in Yukino being bullied very often and her avoiding people as well. Similarities found! Time to give them both their real first ‘client’ thus introducing Yui Yuigahama. She has a problem, Hikigaya and Yukino help her out and she has so much fun with both of them that she decides to join the club afterwards. This is the beginning of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru and their story of how they help people. In the following episodes they do that in their own ways, they are confronted with the popular kids and have to work on their teamwork. All in all I enjoyed all three episodes so far and would recommend to watch it if you like simple high school settings, Yuis or romances because it doesn’t go the usual romance comedy route and sticks more to the actual plot of helping others so far. Don’t know how that will change in future episodes but we’ll get there.

The anime is produced by Brains Base who also did animes like Baccano! and Durarara!!, and is directed by Yi Yoshimura who directed several episodes of Gintama, Kuroshitsuji and Ore no Imou(moar long titles…).

I don't even know why I put this there...

The second anime of today is called Ketsuekigata-kun! which translates to “Blood type-kun” and that is what the show is about: blood types. Literally. The blood types are the main characters. And I don’t mean this show has four characters, each one with a different blood type, no! The blood types themselves are the main characters.

Ketsuekigata-kun!

All the episodes are about two minutes long and show how the individual blood types react in a very comical and funny way. The episodes start with questions like “Which blood type might say something that shows their lack understanding the situation”. Then we see the different views of the blood types to said situation. We have blood type A who is serious and kind but indecisive, B who’s liberal and unique but thick headed. Blood type O who is hard-working and a romanticist but gets angry easily and AB who has the positive sides of A and B but plays hard to get. I like this anime for its simplicity and hey, each episode is two well invested minutes. You even learn something. Ketsuekigata-kun! is produced by Earth Star Entertainment.

AB reigns supreme?

And that’s it for today. Next time I’ll probably write about Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S and Suisei no Gargantia. Both are pretty enjoyable shows that deserve to be written about. So long… sayonara!

First Impression #1: Aku no Hana & Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

Here I am again. This time not with a review but the First Impression thing I wrote about last time. So far I’ve watched two of the animes coming out this season and created my first impression based on many various criteria that include the basic code of the universe and lots of cereal. Since I’ve only seen the first episode of each anime there is not too much to talk about so don’t expect me to go deep into the meaning of the animes or what they might or might not want to express to the viewer. Like I said and I called it, it’s only a first impression.

FI

Let’s dive right in with an anime called Aku no Hana or “The Flowers of Evil“. After reading the synopsis I was a bit curious because it doesn’t seem like your normal high school romance. It’s a bit darker and I like the dark stuff.

Aku no Hana

Takao Kasuga is an ordinary student who reads a lot and one day forgets his book in the classroom. He goes there to get it to not only finding said book but also what seems to be the gym uniform of classmate Nanako Saeki. Takao likes Nanako but only admires her from a distance in the form of daydreaming. He can’t figure out a way of talking to her because he’s just your ordinary student with average grades while Nanako is good student and on top of her class. But now he’s alone in the classroom with her gym uniform… all the possibilities! And this is where the first episode ends. Yes, what a cliffhanger! In the synopsis it says that he steals her bag out of mad impuls and feels ashamed afterwards. The next day all the mean girls in the class wonder what perverted asshole would steal her bag which makes the situation even worse. As if that wouldn’t be bad enough already, Takao finds out that the creepy girl in the class, Sawa Nakamura, saw him stealing it but doesn’t tell anyone instead she uses this secret to take control over his life. And this is where the story continues. Can Takao escape Sawa and get close to Nanako? Will the secret ever be reveiled and what have evil flowers to do with it?

While the story might be interesting and could develop well it’s the animation that put me off. I don’t know if it was the idea of the producers, Starchild Records and Zexcs, since I haven’t seen much by both of them or the idea of director Hiroshi Nagahama, who directed Detroit Metal City and two episodes of Fruits Basket, but something about the animation seemed so odd. The characters moved strangely and unsettled and have no faces when they are not close enough. When they get closer faces suddenly appear.

Seriously where are they?

On the other hand the backgrounds are beautifully done and they know it. Seriously, most of the episode was just background. Not for too long but again and again. Background images! Sometimes characters moved in those backgrounds sometimes even they stood still… in the backgrounds. Is this what the show is about? Beautiful background images? I don’t know… and I don’t want to know either because I won’t continue to watch it. This style of animation is probably just not for me but I felt uneasy watching it and spaced out pretty often. The general reaction to this anime wasn’t so great either. If you can look past that and only want to concentrate on the story it might even be good. But then I’d read the manga because there is no reason to watch the anime in my opionion if you can read the manga. Besides from the background images of course. Just look at it.

Oh, all the backgrounds!
The second anime I watched is called Devil Survivor 2: The Animation. There is no Devil Survivor 1 by the way when it comes to anime because this one is an adaption of the game of the same name. Both Devil Survivor 1 and 2 are stand alone games so you don’t need to play 1 to understand 2. It’s just a bit confusing when you decide to watch it or not because of the 2 in the name.

Devil Survivor 2

Anyways, protagonists Hibiki Kuze and Daichi Shijima are friends and go to the same high school. One day Daichi tells Hibiki about a new app on his smartphone that let’s you take pictures of people and if they happen to die you get a short video of their “dead face”. Creepy an funny the same time? Seems so because this app is popular and the guys try it out. On their way home they suddenly get a notification from this app and see the dead face of the other one buried under a crashing train. Incidentily they are on the train station. Someone puts way too much work in photoshop… or not? Just a few minutes later a train crashes and buries them underneath! Story over, protagonists dead. Happens.

Yes, he looks dead

Not here. They are asked if they still want to live. After their STRONG will to live is confirmed the app downloads a Digimon, I mean, demon summoning app and they come back to life. The same thing happened to Io Nitta, a girl who goes to school with them. She survived the train accident as well but is attacked by a demon. Before she gets killed she somehow summons her own demon from the app which defends her. Battle ensues and the flee. What were those demons? They don’t know and they can’t delete the app either. They just want to go home. Shortly after that they are being attacked again. Io summons her demon to fight the thing. Other than Daichi, who steals a truck and tries to run the demon over only to die again. Next thing, Hibiki, who saw Daichis dead coming, sees a new demon unlocking on his phone. He summons the powerful thing which fights the evil demon in a badass battle.

Tigermon?

Victory! Oh, and Daichi is also back from the dead. Happy end? No, the three are being taken into custody by some government organisation called JP’s and this is where the episode ends.

Not bad for a first episode and it reminded me of Digimon when they first summoned the demons. It looks like they are able to get more than one demon which would then be more like Pokémon than Digimon. Anyways Devil Survivor 2 seems on first view like a more mature and darker version of Digimon and Pokémon which is not a bad thing. I loved both shows and always wanted something more mature by both franchises. It’s not clear as to where the storyline of Devil Survivor 2 will go but I liked what I saw and will continue to watch.
That’s it for today. In the coming days I’ll probably do another First Impression entry with two more shows I’ve watched over the days. I don’t know what I’ll watch next because I don’t know what is still coming but I’m looking forward to more anime! Thank you for reading and as always, feel free to leave a comment, like or whatever. It really helps me a lot.

Bakuman (1, 2, 3) Anime Review!

I’m back for a new review and this time… Bakuman! Another anime that recently ended and this time for good. Sadly though, I like that show. All three seasons are very enjoyable, inspiring and fun to watch. Also, apparently the animes I review seem to get longer each time. First I started off with 12 episodes, followed by 24 and this time we have 75 episodes broken down into three seasons. Next time I’ll review something even BIGGER! (or maybe not, depends on what I do want to review) Anyways, without further ado I present to you the fantastic anime called Bakuman! (As well as Bakuman 2 and 3 but you get the picture…)

Bakumaaaaaan!

Bakuman is produced J.C. Staff (hi again, guys) and directed by Kenichi Kasai who also directed nothing I’ve ever watched except for episode 22 of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun and some episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh!. The good Yu-Gi-Oh! to be exact. The one where the character that the show is named after is still actually present.
The anime is an adaption of the manga of the same name which was written, by the way, by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba who also wrote Death Note. And yes, this is saying a lot. They are fantastic and so is the manga. Can’t wait to get my hands on volume 19.

Volume 19

It’s so pretty :3

The story of Bakuman is simple to explain. Moritaka Mashiro, a very talented artist, does not know what he wants to do with his future. He just goes to school, plays videogames and draws a lot. He’s also in love with a classmate of his but can’t even speak to her. All he does is look at her in class and draws pictures of her in his notebook. One day he forgets this notebook in school. He goes back to get it, only to find straight A student Akito Takagi with said notebook in his hands. Of course he looked at the drawings of Miho Azuki and comes up with an idea: He and Mashiro have to create manga! It’s a perfect plan, Akito writes the stories, Mashiro draws it, they become popular and earn loads of money. But Mashiro refuses. Family issues so to speak and another person who wants to decide his future for him. Needless to say, Mashiro is sick of this.

Yay for the green PSP-like handheld

You know you’re really pissed when you punch your handheld [sorry for the german subtitles btw]

Despite everything Akito does not give up. He calls Mashiro and forces him to meet up at Mihos place where he announces to her that they will draw manga. As an aspiring voice actress she’s delighted and they promise her to let her voice the heroin if their manga ever gets adapted into an anime. Couldn’t get any better, could it? Well, Mashiro seems to think so as he asks her to marry him if this scenario comes true. Shocked she runs back into the house, leaving the guys equally shocked behind. How could he even say that? They barely know each other and Mashiro doesn’t even want to draw manga. Stupid Mashiro, way to ruin your chances with Miho and your dignity. Or did he not? Over the intercom Mihos voice appears again and she accepts. If their dreams come true, if Mashiro and Takagi become mangaka and one of their works gets an anime adaption and if Miho will voice the heroin of said anime, she will marry him. Suddenly Mashiro changes his mind. His new dream he wants to achieve is to become a famous mangaka and to marry Miho Azuki thus beginning the tale of Bakuman!

Over the course of the almost ten year long story we follow Mashiro and Takagi through all the ups and downs of being a mangaka. They meet people that inspire them, help them, people that are plain better than them at first and even people who want to destroy them. Most of the side characters have their own story to tell and develop over them over time making Mashiro and Takagi not always the protagonists of the series. Some episodes revolve more around other characters like Kazuya Hiramaru, who never read manga in his life but decides to draw because he’s fed up with his office job and wants a different life. He proves himself to be very talented but he’s at his best when he’s suffering what his evil editor uses to get him to success. I personally enjoyed Kazuyas storylines equally as much as the ones revolving around the protagonists and judging from the character rankings I’m not alone with that. All in all Bakuman has a wide cast of many great characters that prevent the story from becoming monotone or boring and either lighten up or add suspense to the scenes.

Kazu-tan

He does that occasionally

The overall animation of this series is decent. At first it saddened me when I found out that JC did the show and not Madhouse who did Death Note but the tone of the JC animation probably fits the series more. Bright colors and a more comic style opposed to the realistic animation style of Madhouse Studios.
The soundtrack fits the series but does not stand out much either. Different are the most of the time beautiful opening and ending songs. They are calming while giving a good atmosphere to the whole anime that works pretty well with it. Especially the opening theme from the second season, “Dream of Life” by Shohei Itou is beautiful. I like listening to it when I want to kick back and just relax. All the voice actors did a good job I think there was nothing to complain about.

Now, finally. Bakuman is a very enjoyable anime that I recommend to anyone who is interested in the life of a mangaka or generally likes love stories that are unusual and not textbook. But if you are more into mangas than animes anyways I recommend you go straight to the mangas. You can actually see the differences in style within the different mangas by the characters in the manga and they even included pages of the initial storyboards by authors between the chapters. 20 volumes are not too much and all of them are available in the US (but not in Germany yet T_T). As someone who watched all three seasons and almost all the volumes I can say that I enjoyed tha manga a bit more than the anime but you have to see for yourself. And you should. It’s worth a watch and a read.

 
Hope you enjoyed reading this as well. 😀
In the coming weeks I’ll go away from the reviews a little bit and write first impressions of the new animes that start this spring season. I’m especially looking forward to Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S where I will probably fanboy all over the place when I write my first impression article about that. As usual feel free to leave a comment if you liked the review and even if you didn’t. I’m ready to face (constructive) criticism and learn from it!

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Review!

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. Oh yes, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo! Or in English “The Pet girl of Sakurasou”. I had no intention of ever watching this show if it weren’t for a friend of mine who was in love with it. When the anime hit its 17th episode I started watching it, thinking until I caught up to episode 17 the anime would already be over… boy, was I wrong. I caught up to episode 17 in three days. Today I hold this anime very dearly to my heart because it touched me emotionally on multiple levels and it even made me cry. Yes, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is one of the three animes (and entertainment mediums overall) that has made me “cry”. The other two being Pokémon (the episode Ash let Butterfree go. Admit it you cried too) and the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie. Funny thing is you could count Sakurasou and Evangelion as one because of the very specific reason I “cried”. Enough about me though.

Sakurasou-no-Pet-na-Kanojo

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a 24 episode anime produced by J.C. Staff and directed by Atsuko Ishizua. Until then Ishizuka only directed several episodes for Aoi Bungaku Series and Supernatural: The Animation which are both Madhouse Studio shows. Sakurasou was therefore her first full project as a director and completely different from her previous works. With that in mind Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo can easily count as her masterpiece and will probably not be overshadowed by anything by her any time soon. The anime is an adaption of the Light Novel of the same name which is not yet finished by the way.

In the beginning of the first episode we get to see Kanda Sorata in school being bored by everything in the world (a bit like Light in Death Note) until he wakes up at home because one of his cats stuck its butt in his head. Not the best way to wake up. And if it couldn’t be worse he’s not the only one to in his own personal one-bed-room. Kamiigusa Misaki, a very hyperactive and a bit perverted girl (or alien as Sorata likes to call her) who cannot ever shut up slept over. Again. Pretty soon we’ll find out that Misaki is not the only crazy person in Kandas life. The whole house he lives in consists only of so called ‘problem students’ and this is what Sakurasou is.
Sakurasou – the place where all the special students move to because they couldn’t live in the normal dorms. They and Sorata. He had to move there for a different reason which is his habit of picking up cats.

Cats

Sakurasou no pet na neko?

As a totally normal guy living with those problem students is hell for Sorata and all he wants to do is move out as quickly as possible. This all changes when Shiina Mashiro appears!

Shiina Mashiro

Tadaaaaaa!

Mashiro is the cousin of the teacher who runs Sakurasou and just moved to Japan from England. Needless to say she is also quite special. She can do nothing on her own and I mean almost absolutely nothing. She can’t even change her clothes without the help of Sorata who is pretty quickly forced to Mashiro-Duty, meaning he has to take full care of her. This leads to many funny, easily misunderstandable by outside people, situations which embarass Sorata most of the time while Mashiro doesn’t even realize why the situation is strange at all.

naked

Well, in her defense, she just woke up…

The characters are where the anime really shines. The residents of Sakurasou may be called ‘problem students’ but in reality they are all some kind of geniuses. Misaki already animated full anime shows that made her incredibly rich. Mitaka Jin, who writes the storyboards to Misakis animations is not that of a genius but he’s great at picking up women, and Akasaka Ryuunosuke, a complete shut-in who almost never leaves his room hates women and mainly communicates via a maid-program that he wrote himself, is a programming genius. They as well as Sorata and Mashiro make a very varied and wonderful cast that you can’t get bored with. All of them have their own stories, habits and perks that make you love them even more. This goes from Mashiro believing in the power of the pantsu to Ryuunosuke who trusts tomatoes more than people. Later on ‘normal student’ and friend of Sorata, Aoyama Nanami, joins the main cast and makes a great addition to them just by being relatively normal opposed to all the other shining personalities.

Aoyama

As the slice of life anime this show is, we follow the residents of Sakurasou through their everyday life in high school and beyond. We get to explore why they ended up in Sakurasou and became the way they are now and become to be at the end of the anime. The interactions between the characters is fantastic and you easily feel connected with them. What makes it stand out from other slice of life animes might be the one question that Sorata is confronted more than once. What are we actually doing with our lifes? Are the normal people only there to play catch-up with the geniuses only to fail? Why is life so unfair that some people have to work so hard when others are good at something without even trying and what differentiates normals from geniuses? The anime takes on these questions very well and you can relate to both sides even if you consider yourself either a ‘genius’ or a normal person.

On the technical sides of things the anime is well animated, the characters and backgrounds look pretty good and especially Mashiro has something special to her. I know people who started watching it only because they liked how Mashiro looked (it was also one of the reasons for me to watch it). All the voice actors did a great job. They brought so much life to the characters with no exceptions. Though, I want to point out Ai Kayano who voiced *surprise surprise* Mashiro. Her performance was outstanding in the emotional and dull parts both and the ones where Mashiro gets to talk more. They couldn’t have chosen a better voice actor for her role.
The openings and endings were okay. Nothing too special and rather common for this kind of anime but they fit the series. Same goes for the soundtrack. It fits but nothing really stands out.

All in all Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a fantastic anime that can capture your heart quickly and won’t let you go until you finished it. There were only some little things that could probably be done better but hey, nothing is perfect. I recommend it to anyone who likes slice of life animes and even to people who don’t usually watch this kind of show. I’m one of those people normally and you can see how much I love Sakurasou. Watch it. It’s good!

Sakurasou.no.Pet.na.Kanojo.full.1286636
Sidenote + SPOILERS for EVANGELION and SAKURASOU:

The very reason I “cried” while watching Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. I somehow feel the need to explain.

In episode 24 the graduation ceremony takes place which is really emotional as it is, even though the main cast gets kicked out for almost causing a riot. Later on a piano can be heared playing a song that is normally played at graduation ceremonies of elementary schools and they all sing along. This song, called Kyou no Hi wa Sayounara, can also be heared in the Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22 movie in the scene where Asuka almost gets killed by the dummy-plug. The brutality in this scene underlined by a song sung by children really struck a chord with me. The whole scene was so gruesome, sad and emotional, I shed a tear. If it weren’t for the song I wouldn’t have but soundtrack can have such a huge impact on a scene. Then, when I heard the exact same song in Sakurasou but this time they were all happy and relieved I myself couldn’t take it. In my head I associated this song with the brutality of Asuka almost being murdered yet I saw the main cast of Sakurasou singing along to it happily. Too many emotions for me! And I am normally not a very emotional person but let me listen to this song I will always react.
Getting this off of my chest felt really good.

Senran Kagura Anime Review!

Hey, I have some time to spare and this new blog + something I kinda wanna talk about… so let’s do this!

The anime winter 2013 season is almost over with most of its shows having reached their climax and end in the last week. One of those shows I was watching and finished recently is called Senran Kagura. It’s an anime basically about ninjas doing ninja stuff… or is it? Yeah, not really.

Off the grid Senran Kagura is a 12 episode anime, adapted from the PSVita game of the same name, produced by FUNimation Entertainment and directed by Takashi Watanabe who is famous for directing animes like Freezing, Groove Adventure Rave, Shakugan no Shana(!) and the first season of Ikki Tousen. He even worked on the storyboard for Death Note, this guy knows what he’s doing.

The anime starts off by showing us main character Asuka (the characters all seem to lack last names which is probably a ninja thing) fighting off random ninjas in the shadows, looking really cool and strong, giving you a glimpse of what the show could be like. Which of course, is a good first impression.

Action in bikinis!   

What follows is the opening theme! After that we are told that Asuka is moving back to the city of Asakusa returning to ninja school and continuing her aim of becoming a good ninja and making her granddad proud. On the ship to Asakusa she meets a mysterious girl in black school uniform, engaging in small talk with her. If only she knew at that point that she’ll meet her again some time soon!
Next stop: Asuka arrives at Hanzou Academy which is basically a normal school with a secret ninja school hidden within. If you ask me that’s not really the ideal place to hide a ninja school in but who am I to judge and there needs to be a reason why they are all wearing normal school uniforms! Even though they don’t seem to attend regular classes. So yeah… we’re then finally introduced to Asukas classmates. Dutiful and somewhat bossy Ikaruga, hyperactive big-boobed blonde Katsuragi, clumsy and shy Hibari and finally the silent eye-patch wearing, overprotective when it comes to Hibari, Yagyuu. And yes, they all lack last names. It must be a ninja thing. On the other hand, their teacher Kiriya-sensei, does have one. Maybe you get your ninja last name when your education is over. Who knows? Kiriya-sensei informs Asuka then that her last mission (the awesome scene from before the opening) was basically a total disaster yet she passed by surviving. Works for her.

By now the main introductions are over which means there is time for some action! Clothes changing action! And of course ninja training.

Katsuragi might be more into boobs than some guys. And she goes for ’em

The first episode definitely left a good impression on me showing what we can expect in the future. Ninja missions, some kind of plot, ecchi here and there and comedy. To get to know the characters and their backstories better they show us lots of flashbacks with each of the main characters getting their own episodes. Some are better, others are not this good.

On the opposing side of the five main character girls are the five antagonists. All of them are well-trained ninjas and clearly stronger than the protagonists at first. Their objective is not clear at first, the only thing we know is that they are fighting for the dark side of the force – I mean, they attend a dark ninja school. Dark ninjas basically do the same thing as not-dark-ninjas only more ruthless and apparently enjoy better education. Dark side for the win! Later we find out that they want the secret ninja scroll, hidden in Hanzou Academy so they can add it to their ninja scroll and rule over the world! (Or something) Sounds a bit… textbook. Luckily the antagonist ninjas also have their backstories and flashbacks over the course of the anime and I personally have to say that I was more interested in them than in the protagonists. I mean, they have a bean sprout addicted blonde called Yomi and a green haired snake like girl who doesn’t give a crap about anything at all called Hikage. Also, the mysterious girl Asuka met on the ship and later on, Homura. They and the other two, Mirai and Haruka, seem way more ballanced out as a group than the protagonists are.

The sexy antagonists!

Somewhere about in the middle of the anime I asked myself why I was still watching it and wondered if I should drop it entirely because it seemed rather pointless to me. I have seen way better ecchi themed animes and the same goes for plot driven shows. Yet I still powered through and do not regret it because in the end it actually gets good again. The final battle between the good and the dark ninjas had some pretty cool fighting scenes, was interesting, exciting and had a nice piece of wisdom to tell.

Technically speaking, the animation was good, there was nothing to complain about really and the voice actors were fitting (since I can’t speak Japanese I really can’t judge them anyways but the cast seemed fitting to me). Mentionworthy might be Yuu Kobayashi who is the voice actor for Katsuragi. She also does a great job as Sarutobi Ayame in Gintama and Setsuna Sakurazaki in the Mahou Sensei Negima! animes. You also might have heard her in rather small rolls in animes like Fairy Tail, Bleach and Medaka Box. I’d watch a second season if they decide to make one.

Aaaaaaaand sidebar stuff:

Sometimes I find myself wondering why the protagonists are children or teenagers doing adult jobs or why the main cast only consists of girls, when being a ninja sounds more like a guy-job for me. Of course, the videogame probably sells better that way and the anime gets more viewers by having a sexy cast but just logically speaking… this makes little to no sense. It’s also not explained in Senran Kagura but I figured it out myself! Haha! In order to become stronger the ninjas use scrolls. But they don’t seem to read them. They just stuff ’em in their cleavage and boom – super powers! You can’t do that as a guy. These girls must have some magic like part in their cleavage that absorbs the scrolls and gives them an increase of power. We always knew that cleavages hold magic power and that men (and even women) are drawn to them but this takes the cake.

Also, in the last episode Watanabe shows us that he directed Shakugan no Shana by having a Shana cameo appearance! Not really, but this is what I thought when I saw following picture:

Shakugan no Homura?

All in all if you like light ecchi, ninjas and girls eating long sushi rolls in a somewhat sexy manor this show might be right for you!

If you expect a fantastic plot and/or full on ecchi you will most likely be disappointed.
And of course, if you play the videogames, watch it too. It is fun and has Hikage in it.

The sweet Hikage ❤

That’s it for my really first review ever~! Feel free to leave a comment. Tell me what you liked, disliked and what could have been done better. I’m here to learn and to improve. See you next time!