Reviews and random thoughts brought about by various movies, series, music, books, travels, social behavior and what not...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!

Shuri Komori is a 14-yr-old high school girl who just can't say no to her classmates asking for help or favors. She gets into these situations with her friends while going on about doing various things she has to do for them.

That is essentially the gist of this short series. Going through different scenarios like an animated 4-panel comic about everyday life. Its a bit amusing, but they seem to overcompensate for the lack of impact of the comedy by adding a ginormous set of mammary glands on the main character. Sort of what "Tawawa no Getsuyoubi" did, but at least 'Tawawa' was a bit more humorous. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakura-iro

Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakura-iro
(Kisses, Sighs and Cherry Blossom Pink)

Author: Milk Morinaga
Artist:   Milk Morinaga

A collection of tales about a group of friends from an all-girls school and them falling in love with girls who either are their friends or school mates. Although drawn in a shoujo manga style, there are some visuals that gives emphasis on the emotions of the characters, be it affection, emotional withholding or confusion.

Although focusing on a different set of characters per chapter, the same characters are shown recurring throughout the series. Just like the approach on "Hatsukoi Limited", giving the reader a sense of continuity.

The direction of the stories are average as they come, but the circumstances and/or premise surrounding some of the tales are a bit more interesting.

A somewhat innocent look into the shoujo-ai genre while facing issues of social norms and possibilities.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ano Natsu de Matteru

Video enthusiast Kaito Kirishima's almost normal life was turned into a frenzy after a chance meeting with Ichika Takatsuki, an alien on a personal mission to search for a certain place in her distant memory. After transferring to Kaito's school, both of them, along with their friends and classmates, go on to film a movie throughout their summer break, and plan to show it in their school festival. The filming is tough and complicated, but things get more ruffled up as each of them became honest about their feelings and love for another that resulted in a very complex web of relationships.

Throughout the anime, I get that certain nostalgic feeling while watching. I was surprised to find out that the development team involved with one of my favorite franchise, the "Onegai" series (developers of "Onegai Teacher" and "Onegai Twins" series) was involved with this one. Then all began to make sense. From the plot direction, the development of the characters along with their complicated relationships, down to the opening and closing songs and certain quirks in the script ("...this is a priority one...").

But this anime can still be enjoyed on its own, story wise. Although I would recommend viewers to see the first 2 series by the group to get this feeling that I have for this anime. The development of the story and its characters are light enough to be enjoyed, with humor and slice-of-life moments integrated within, but still give a certain heaviness and emotion when it comes to the climax of each relationship arc.

A nice balance that makes this a worthwhile anime to watch.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Aldnoah Zero

An anime and print series from 'Olympus Knights' and A-1 Pictures, its a sci-fi mecha anime where a vassal-type society is born from the colonizers of Mars after they discovered an ancient technology that is vastly superior to Earth's. They then declared separation from the Earth government and waged war with the Terran population. An armistice is declared after the space gate on the moon exploded, sending lunar debris all over the area and stranding the vassals of the Martian empire. But after 15 years of itching for action, a small incident sparked the second war which obliterates most of the planet and the Martian armed forces.

At first glance, the way the story unfolded is common to a lot of mecha genre anime, namely Gundam (the original series), Gundam Seed and Macross. Familiar tales of young kids, barely out of highschool, dragged into an interplanetary war, suddenly aces piloting mechas, ran away on a flying battleship (or carrier) , with a hidden royalty on board, then two young aces slug it out in a final show down.

Animation is well made, especially in the battle scenes in space, where it gives you the feel of a 'Robotech' like engagement, and the surface atmospheric battles gives you the realism of weight and actual physics with the movement limitations on the mechas.

The mecha design is quite close to realism with 21st century technology, with a bit faster movement, erring to the side of what would theoretically works with regard to aerodynamics, mechanical power and utility. No fancy shancy designs that would not give an advantage towards the battle (except for a few elements that seems to be added for 'shock factor' in feudal war armors).

Although this anime seems to posses the same plot attributes as other mecha genre anime that preceded it, the development and interaction of the characters, and the choices they make draws you in like a telenovela or drama anthology.

Rokujouma no Shinryakusha

Koutaro Satomi started living alone at the start of highschool as his father was transferred because of work. Not wanting to be a financial burden, he did his best to find a very cheap apartment. He finds a 6-jou (jou refers to the same size as 1 tatami mat... traditional Japanese measure of area, usually for living spaces) in an old apartment building for only 5,000 yen.Things get crazy when suddenly, there is a ghost, a magical girl, an intergalactic princess and commander of a subterranean civilization, all vying to take over the small space that is Satomi's apartment.

At first, I just leisurely watched, not intending to finish the whole series. "...just gonna be one of those trying-to-be-cute harem series that I was getting sick of..." I thought to myself. But each episode draws me in to find out more. There were episodes that I think were not needed to further the story, but the character development in these made me still care enough to watch... kudos to the production team.

Until I was in the last episode, the final scene made me think everything appears to come full circle...with a twist (well, for majority of the characters at least), and made me realize, "...whoa, this thing appears to be deeper than it seems...", in the same way "Mahou Sensei Negima", "Ah! My Goddess" and "DNA" made me feel.

And with a little more digging, it began to appear that the light novel/ manga adaptation seems to contain a more interesting and mature story line than the anime. If the anime was suppose to draw interest to the main series, giving out a hint of the twist of the plot with a cliffhanger, while making the anime stand alone in terms of story without giving away much of the light novel/ manga adaptation plot.... then good job!

Although with a mix of the supernatural, sci-fi, fantasy and school life in the fray to get a multi-genre thing going, the anime will only get you by so much. To get the real gist of things... and if you want to go deeper into the characters, you still might need to see the light novel/ manga adaptation.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tomo-chan wa Onna no Ko

(Tomo-chan wa Onna no Ko!)
"Tomo is a Girl!"

author: Yanagida Fumita

Tomo and Junichiro has been friends since they were kids. Going on dangerous adventures, intense physical activities and playing outdoors until the sun goes down. Junichirou gets the shock of his life when he finds out that Tomo is actually a girl (because by middle school, Tomo wears the uniform with a skirt). 

But since Junichiro's used to treating Tomo as a guy friend, he goes on treating her the same. But the same cannot be said for Tomo, as she started having feelings for her childhood buddy. Things start to become awkward by high school because Junichirou starts to feel the same, but both are a bit scared to be honest with what they feel for each other.

This is actually my current favorite manga, reading it over and over for the 4th time (as of today). The series not only focuses on the two friends, but also on their equally interestingly hilarious friends, who comes up with schemes to get them together which ends up with more hilarious events.
Although normally made in a four panel per chapter format, the facial expressions gives you a total feel for the characters, without making it too 'comical', retaining some realistic features.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san

Quite an interesting word play with names, as Inugami (lit. trans.: dog deity), a highschool girl who loves cats, meets Nekoyama (lit.trans.: cat mountain), another girl from the same school who loves dogs. They are instantly attracted to each other, as the other shows features of their favorite animal. Nekoyama has unkempt hair that looks like cat ears, and has cat-like demeanor, while Inugami has a ponytail that wags like a dog's tail when happy.

Their story is further made interesting as they interacted with other schoolmates who have the same wordplay of animals in their names, while showing the identifying traits of those animals as well. Quite a brain teaser for non-Japanese viewers.

Its a short series with an interesting slice-of-life tale of  friendship, with underlying tones of "yuri" love in its purest form (just like "Sakura Tricks" without the intense girl on girl kissing action).

Quite an enjoyable series for light viewing.

Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken

A short series about the daily lives of Kaoru, a hardworking OL, and Hajime, a stay-at-home husband who is also an otaku. It shows the various interactions of the couple, where Hajime spouts out anime and otaku references and ideologies to address real life situations which leaves Kaoru dumbfounded at times, hence the title (translated to "I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying").

But underneath it all, Hajime is a sweet guy and loyal to Kaoru... although there is a lot of scenes where Kaoru interrupts Hajime's anime viewing session where they quip " my waifu!!!"... "I AM your wife, dammit!!!" (hahaha...pretty hilarious). And when the sexual tension rises in an episode, it ends with a note that said "They had tons of sex afterwards"...with a deep monotone voice reading it.

The series production is like a combination of "Lucky Star" and "Mangaka-san to Asisstant-san to", written in an interesting blend of humor and romance...but not in a love-comedy sort of way. The hilarious parts get you the same way the heart warming scenes does.

The story is not spread out too thin, but satisfying none the less, given its 3 and a half minute long episodes. Although, it makes you look forward to what shenanigans the couple is going to go through next. Each season is not open ended, but it is not closed either... but you will be satisfied with the outcome of the final episode.

Okusama ga Seito Kaichou

If watching the large bosoms of petite highschool girl being fondled is your thing, along with many crazy ecchi ways to bring out the 'dere' in cute and sexy 'tsundere' characters, all while having a romantic comedy theme underlying the whole shebang, then the "Okusama ga Seito Kaichou" series is for you.

The lucky bastich, Hayato Izumi, the student council vice-president, is surprised to find out that he is promised to wed the small but voluptuous Ui Wakana, the president of the student council of the same school.

You would think that this is a run of the mill "promised-to-wed-between-two-families" kind of series, but wait... there's more.

Izumi is going through as tough time; finding the arrangement unacceptable, but at the same time, having some sort of feelings for Ui. Trying to keep the fact that they are to be married and living together a secret at school while Ui is getting all jealous with the girls approaching Izumi, which makes her want to announce that fact. Keeping his modesty and composure, with Ui's chastity in mind, while Ui is making all these advances and desire for 'skinship' (or intimacy) in hopes of deepening and progressing their relationship as husband and wife. I wouldn't be surprised if Izumi didn't just dropped dead from aneurysm one day.

Production wise, the series is animated and drawn well as to blend the serious romance parts with the hilarious parts. Although I think there was much attention paid to detail with Ui's breasts, nipples and "underwear over" the nether region fan service, making the audience feel the excitement while watching... really enjoyable R-18 stuff here, border lining to softcore porn. And they have a really catchy opening theme with  "Koi suru Hyoko" by Reika Katakiri

Its a fun series for light viewing and you actually might get around to rooting for Ui to bring their relationship to another level.