5/26-6/3 Anime Review: Isuca, and Infinite Stratos

TLDR:
Isuca: Stream
Infinite Stratos: Stream

Isuca: 5/10
‘Normal High-School guy’ (they are very rarely NORMAL are they?) Shinichiro Asano lives alone and needs a job. While going home one night a woman flashes him, turns into a centipede, tries to eat him, gets saved when centipede dies from magical arrows. Que tsundere Sakuya Shimazu, who saves the day. This is about as typical a series as you’d expect with the girl’s family of magicians playing as the background for the drama. It’s NOT a harem, (which I require at least 3 girls/boys to classify) but it is about two girls trying to win the boy, with one winning by the end. So you do get a bit of ‘romance’, but mostly it’s just the usual shonen tropes. If you are in the mood for something cliche, but quick, this one works. It’s only 10 episodes, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time with it. I recommend skipping it for the most part, unless you want something right down this ally. In that case it’s worth streaming.

Infinite Stratos: 7/10 (but only if you like fan-service shows)
Okay let me throw out a few descriptors in order of importance: Only one guy, Fan-service, Harem, Super School, Mecha, MORE fan-service.
If those words interest you, then this is a really fun show. I’ll admit I wasn’t much in the mood for this kind of show when I watched the first episode, but it turned out to just be fun for me, and I watched the whole thing. For once I actually ENJOYED the fan-service, and even fell for the ‘best girl’ BS these shows like to have their fans do. (French girl wins! Who will you pick?) Don’t expect the show to make much sense, don’t expect a girl to ‘win’, and you can have a lot of fun out of this series. If you aren’t in it for the fan-service, I’d say skip this one, otherwise this was a really fun fan-service show, and I’d recommend streaming it.

Partials this week: Anti-Magic Academy: The 35 Test Platoon, The Testament of Sister New Devil, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, Denpa Kyoushi, Love, Election and Chocolate.
Test Platoon: short so I should finish it.
Sister New Devil: typical shonen fighting show with a side order of ecchi.
Chivalry: basically THE EXACT SAME SHOW as Asterisk War, so I’m skipping it.
Denpa Kyoushi: The main character doesn’t interest me, so I may skip this one. Can’t find it anywhere but Youtube as well.
Love, Election and Chocolate: I can’t find anywhere but Youtube, so I’ll probably skip it till I can find it streaming somewhere.

As per always I’m trying not to spoil anything in the ‘review’ above, but I’ll gladly delve into them in the comments!

Any suggestions to changes I should make to the style of review let me know as well.

5/22-5/25 Anime Review: “The Fruit of Grisaia”, “The Labyrinth of Grisaia”, and “Engaged to the Unidentified”

TLDR:
The Fruit of Grisaia: Skip
The Labyrinth of Grisaia: Skip
Engaged to the Unidentified: Stream

The week started out with Grisaia and I needed something sweet to cleanse my palate, so I finished with Engaged.

The Fruit of Grisaia: 6/10
This was a very odd series. The show starts with our main character walking over a hundred kilometers, because he doesn’t like trains, to enter an ‘ordinary school and have an ordinary school life’. Yeah, no.
Nothing about the school or the students is ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a space/fantasy/magic/high-tech show. It’s pretty much set in the ‘normal world’, but it’s populated with total oddities. The main character is basically a 16 year old veteran of the government’s ‘wet works’. You read that right. He’s being giving this ‘ordinary school life’ as a retirement present for service. So, if you can accept that, get ready for the fact that the entire school has a total of 5 students, all girls of course, plus him as the new transfer. He spends the season ‘fixing’ each girls unique (and very strange) situation. I will say that I actually liked the resolution of the youngest girl’s situation, but all of this is just a ‘Gary Stu’ perfect main character going through a wish fulfillment show. I’m giving it a 6 out of 10 simply because it’s animated, and acted well, but the overall story is just a bit too much for me. I’d recommend just skipping this one.

The Labyrinth of Grisaia: 5/10
This is basically Grisaia, the prelude. You get to see a LOT of the main characters back story, and I really don’t think it improves the show. This guy should NOT be a moral, upstanding, confident human being. With everything that has happened to him, he should be a walking basket case or psychopath. There is another season to the Grisaia story after this one, but I’ve decided I don’t want to watch it. It’ll no doubt have the main character taking on the one surviving ‘enemy’ of his childhood, and showing the woman that ‘saved’ him and how she did that. This is a deep enough well of human misery that I’m just going to lie down and avoid it. Skip this one unless you actually liked ‘Fruit’.

Engaged to the Unidentified: 6/10
After the depravity and human misery shown in Grisaia, I needed a palate cleanser and chose this short rom-com. It’s sweet, has tons of tropes and lets the female characters carry it. (No really, the male ‘lead’ might speak 3 sentences a show on average, including nods and grunts.) Basically I liked the interaction of the girls, the youngest one was adorable, while the oldest was suitably ‘wacky’. The story goes for all sorts of tropes but tends to duck them at the same time to kind of wink along with the audience, ‘yeah we knew you were expecting that, but what if we do this instead?’. If you want a romantic comedy that is quick and sweet this will fill the bill. I’d recommend streaming it.

As per always I’m trying not to spoil anything in the ‘review’ above, but I’ll gladly delve into them in the comments!

5/15-5/21 Anime review. “Haganai”, “INVADERS of the ROKUJYOMA”, and “My Bride Is a Mermaid”

TLDR:
Haganai: Skip
Invaders: Stream
Mermaid: May be worth buying, definite watch.

Longer version:
“Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai” (“Haganai”):
This show had two seasons but no ending. Worse yet, I don’t think it will GET an ending, which is too bad because it was starting to come to a conclusion at the very end of the second season.  I’ve since read up what I could find online about the series, and apparently the original writer of the light novels had a huge falling out with the editors of the anime and wrote a ‘horrible’ ending to his novels, so the anime is dead. No conclusion means I just can’t recommend it. Basically this harem goes no where so just avoid it.

 

“INVADERS of the ROKUJYOMA”:
This series also doesn’t conclude, but there may be future seasons to rectify that. If there does end up being a second (or even third) season and they end up as good as this first one, this’ll be a definite recommend.  It’s not anything really new in the harem genre but I actually liked all the characters in this one. The main character isn’t an idiot, the girls aren’t either, and I like that. They all have their definite agenda’s and they clash, but they are all finding ways to appreciate and work with each other. The magic/sci-fi/ghost combo just works here and I fully expect a time travel arc in a future season. I usually HATE time travel in TV and movies but I think it may actually work here.  I’m recommending this one be watched but just stream it. The recommendation may change if it does/or doesn’t get future seasons.

“Seto no Hanayome” (“My Bride Is a Mermaid”):
This one basically has a conclusion after the first 26 episodes. There was an OVA but it’s basically just 4 short stories showing the wacky going ons in the characters lives. Basically this story is, “Drowning boy gets saved by a mermaid. Mermaid law demands they marry. Mermaid’s family is actually Yakuza and her Dad thinks a better solution is to just kill said boy because nobody touches his precious precious daughter!” Hi-jinks commence.  I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ll admit the first half of the first episode is kind of ‘meh’, but I was laughing my ass off the rest of the way.  This show was hilarious and I say that after watching it in English. (Usually a sub kind of guy but the English voice actors did a really good job here.)  I’m not going to say more here but I’m seriously considering this a series I’ll buy. At the very least find a way to stream this if you can.

As per always I’m trying not to spoil anything in the ‘review’ above, but I’ll gladly delve into them in the comments!

Keeping a list of my DVDs (So I can find it easily later)

I’ve always wanted to make this list but I’ve just been too lazy to do it. Finally got off my butt and did it.

All the Anime DVD’s I own (it was a lot more than I thought):

Akira
Angelic Layer Collection (5 DVDs)
Banner of the Stars (3 DVDs)
Banner of the Stars II (3 DVDs)
Cardcaptor Sakura (18 DVDs)
Cowboy Bebop (6 DVDs)
Crest of the Stars (4 DVDs)
FLCL Ultimate Edition (4 DVDs)
Ghost in the Shell Special Edition
Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig (7 DVDs)
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex (7 DVDs)
Gunbuster (3 DVDs)
Haibane-Renme (4 DVD Set)
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kaleido Star (5 DVDs)
Kaleido Star New Wings (5 DVDs)
Last Exile (7 DVDs)
Love Hina (6 DVDs)
Love Hina Movie Collection (3 DVDs)
Maria Watches Over Us Season One (4 DVDs)
Maria Watches Over Us Season Two (4 DVDs)
Maria Watches Over Us Season Three OAV (3 DVDs)
Maria Watches Over Us Season Four (4 DVDs)
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Box Set (4 DVDs)
Noir (7 DVDs)
Princess Mononoke
PLANETES Complete Collection (6 DVDs)
Serial Experiments Lain DVD Box Set (4 DVDs)
Shingu (5 DVDs)
Sugar a Little Snow Fairy (6 DVDs)
Sugar a Little Snow Fairy Special
Tenchi Muyo DVD Ultimate Edition
Tenchi Universe The Complete DVD Box Set (8 DVDs)
Tsukihime (3 DVDs)
Voices of a Distant Star
Witch Hunter Robin Complete Collection (5 DVDs)

And the Non-Anime DVDs (Also more than I thought I had):

A Fistful of Dollars
AI Artificial Intelligence
Bablylon 5 Complete First Season (6 DVDs)
Bablylon 5 Complete Second Season (6 DVDs)
Bablylon 5 Complete Third Season (6 DVDs)
Bablylon 5 Complete Fourth Season (6 DVDs)
Bablylon 5 Complete Fifth Season (6 DVDs)
Bablylon 5 The Gathering/In the Beginnin
Band of Brothers
Big Trouble in Little China
Blade Runner
Deep Cover
Dune Extended Edition
Enter the Dragon
For a Few Dollars More
Forrest Gump
The Good the Bad the Ugly
The Hidden Fortress
John Woo Collection (Hard Boiled, The Killer)
Kelly’s Heroes
Lord of the Rings The Return of the King Special Extended DVD Edition
Lord of the Rings The Two Towers Special Extended DVD Edition
Lord of the Rings The Return of the King Special Extended DVD Edition
Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Special Extended DVD Edition
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Pitch Black
The Prisoner Set 1 (2 DVDs)
The Prisoner Set 2 (2 DVDs)
The Prisoner Set 3 (2 DVDs)
The Prisoner Set 4 (2 DVDs)
The Prisoner Set 5 (2 DVDs)
Pulp Fiction
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
Shindler’s List
Tora Tora Tora
Unforgiven
Venture Bros Season One
Venture Bros Season Two
Venture Bros Season Three
Venture Bros Season Four Volume 1
Venture Bros Season Four Volume 2
Venture Bros Season Five
Venture Bros Season Six
Where Eagle Dare

So I’ve watched a good bit of anime lately. Here’s how they stack up.

This is in order by ranking with a quick rundown of the series.
10/10 Masterpiece.

9/10 A MUST WATCH!
“Your Lie in April”
The FEELS!!! But such a wonderful series.
“One Punch Man”
Hilarious! Great send up of the super hero genre.

8/10 Damn good.
“Konosuba”
FUNNY! Haven’t seen series two yet but I can’t wait. I was ROLLING for some of this show.
“Toradora!”
Slice of Life/High School love triangle. Liked the main characters and the way they changed over the series.

7/10 Worth the time.
“Interviews with Monster Girls”
I’m a softy and this was Cute! Not overly funny, but humorous none the less. I really enjoyed it and recommend it.

6/10 Worth it if you like the genre.
“The Devil Is a Part-Timer!”
Funny hook, but it didn’t really go anywhere. Bubblegum time waster with a few laughs mixed in.

“Seiren”
Based off a dating sim; the show is basically three love stories with the main character living a different ‘path’ in each. Each story is fine but it doesn’t lead to any ‘flow’ for the overall story. Still I did enjoy the individual stories and how the characters from other ‘paths’ interacted with the current ‘path’.

“Kokoro Connect”
I liked the hook, but I think it needs more episodes.

“My Little Monster”
Think this could be really good if it completed it’s story, but it didn’t.
“Nisekoi”
Very cliche. Much Harem.
“If her Flag Breaks”
Harem, but not much fanservice (which I appreciate). I liked the Matrix twist at the end.

“To Love Ru”
Beautiful nude space babe appears in bath with the main character. That pretty much lets you know what to expect. Some funny moments.
“Motto To Love Ru”
Like To Love Ru? You’ll like this. It’s the exact same but with even more fanservice, and the girls giving that service are getting younger.
“To Love Ru Darkness”
See above, but the girls are getting even YOUNGER. What The Hell man?

5/10 Mediocre
“Chu-Bra”
I found it watchable, but doubt the subject is anything my friends would want to actually bother with.
“The Kawai Complex Guide To Manors and Hostel Behavior”
Didn’t feel complete. Wacky characters aren’t enough to recommend this series. Maybe read the manga instead?
“My Wife is the Student Council President”
Rather unremarkable and forgettable. In fact I think it’s only a fanservice show.
“Nourin”
I remember watching it but it was totally forgettable otherwise. Harem genre.

“Champione!”
Action harem. Much cliche, some fanservice.

4/10 Starting to really Stink.
“Kanokon”
Just a harem fanservice vehicle.

3/10 Stinker

2/10 Just really bad.

1/10 Has no redeeming qualities.

Top Two Anime (Out of the latest batch)

I’ve said before that I haven’t watched anime seriously in around a decade now, and that I recently watched a ton of what I’d call bubblegum/popcorn series. Stuff that isn’t serious and isn’t all that memorable either. Basically most of the series I’ve watched lately are time wasters.

HOWEVER, two series stand out. I believe both will be considered classic shows soon if they aren’t already.  ‘One Punch Man’ and ‘Your Lie in April’.  These series stand out head and shoulders above the rest and although they couldn’t be more different I HIGHLY recommend both.

I’m not going to spoil either show so if you want those say so below and I’ll post spoilers in a separate post. ‘One Punch Man’ is a send up of the superhero/shonen genre and it is hilarious and action packed.  If you like superhero stories you’ll laugh your ass off at Saitama as he wins every fight except the one he has with boredom.

In the very opposite corner you have ‘Your Lie in April’. It’s a very sweet AND sad (really need a word for this but I don’t know one that fits) story about a young piano prodigy whose life has gone totally monotone after the death of his abusive piano teaching mother and what happens to him when he becomes ‘Friend A’ to his best friends new girlfriend. A bubbly and vivacious violin player that brings color, music and yes love back into our protagonist’s life.  I give this series a even BIGGER recommendation than OPM. This is a masterpiece and should be watched by pretty much anyone. One warning, have a box of tissues ready, you WILL need it. (Yes, even us burly he-men will be in tears on the final episode.)

I already said I am reading the manga for ‘One Punch Man’ (both the manga and webcomic versions) and I intend to read the manga ‘YLIA’ is based on when I can find it, but I don’t think it’ll be quite as good as the anime, because of the MUSIC! The music is WONDERFUL in this series, and I find myself listening to it off of YouTube when I can.

Both ‘One Punch Man’ and ‘Your Lie in April’ are available through Netflix. WATCH IT!