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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Nazo no Kanojo X

A coming of age tale of two souls sharing an intimate emotional bond without the use of words. Akira Tsubaki went into a journey of discovery and change when a mysterious girl transfers into their school. Mikoto Urabe is a silent, unsociable, introverted girl of few words. Their bond started when Akira partook some of Mikoto's drool and ended up with a case of love sickness. Their relationship develops into a mature love as they went through a journey of discovering about each other. Mikoto begins to open up and be more sociable, while Akira became more sure of his feelings towards this mysterious girl that gave warmth to his life.

Although the series has a good standing as a romance-comedy, there are a few underlying elements that I think is kinda a bit...odd... or off.  First of all, there are all this talk about "real love" and "emotional bond", when the love sickness rooted from tasting...saliva? You might get this impresion at first, but their feelings for one another did blossom within the course of their relationship. Second, Mikoto wanted Akira to be faithful to her, while she goes out sampling out guys to share this bond with. This also goes far as insisting her feelings and thoughts should trump over her partner's. It took the insight of the girlfriend of Akira's best friend to make Mikoto think about Akira's feelings and thoughts. But things do get better farther along the story when Mikoto starts to take into consideration what Akira feels about the whole thing.

Oddly one-sided relationship tropes aside, I do get a bit queasy on the sharing saliva everyday as a prevention for fever induced love sickness thing. Throughout viewing this series, I got to think that this might be an ideal love-comedy thing to get into for those with light "bodily fluid" fetishes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Log Horizon

As a "summoned to another world" subset series of the fantasy genre, its about a large population of players who found themselves suddenly living the MMORPG game...just like "Sword Art Online". But that's where the comparisons end.

Story wise, Log Horizon offers a more tactical approach in living in this fantasy game world, maybe because of the fact that the main protagonist of the series is a master tactician. The things and events around you are explained directly, instead of assuming the viewer already knows everything about the MMORPG world. This saves time in the development of the story or the character as there are many things to cover.

You also get involved in the machinations of political maneuvering and backdoor diplomacy without getting too much into the details of things that could end up as a boring scene. Its an action adventure with a greater scope in terms of the effects on their lives and on the new world that they are in, rather than a focusing on a cog that is moving along in the grand scheme of things. This, in my opinion, makes the story more appealing than the other "summoned to another world" series that I've seen so far. Along with the development of each character, the relations that they create along the way, elements come together that makes you want to see the story till the end.

The series scores average in terms of production and animation, so is the character design which is not that elaborate. But it does make it easier on the eyes when you watch the action scenes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Youjo Senki

The series, known for its aliases such as "The Battle Chronicles of a Little Girl" or "Saga of Tanya the Evil", is a venerable cornucopia of anime and manga plot elements that seems to work on its target male demographic.

It combines the "reborn in another world" genesis with the historical trope of a "Great World War" as its background. Then you have the supplemental battle force reminiscent of the "Strike Witches" (mages used in combat with technological implements to boost or augment their magic...with their main propulsion on their legs reminding me of "Striker Units"), a main protagonist that is both a cunning, calculating genius who always have an agenda (Like Light in Death Note) and a cute loli to boot (her demeanor and built reminds me of Aisaka Taiga, but that's just a bonus for me).

The lighter tone, and almost humorous take on Tanya's situation makes it a bit more enjoyable to watch. As the way main protagonist thinks may lead one to assume this as a dark, psychological piece, the approach the story deals with the plot gives it a lighter tone that it has to be.

Animation production did a good job on giving the anime the gritty feel of a contemporary war movie mixed with medieval elements to support the "mage" part of the equation. Not making it too comical, but not making it too realistic. Average points for character design and development, but what's with those overly pouty lips of the young girls. especially Tanya and Visha.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mujaki no Rakuen

Mujaki no Rakuen
(Paradise of Innocence)

author: Uran (雨蘭)

If you want school life/ slice of life series along the lines of "Kyou no Go no Ni" (Today in Class 5-2), with a mixed premise of "ReLife" and "Toki wo Kakeru Shojou", but more intense than "Kodomo no Jikan", while not as crossing over too much like "Boku no Pico", then the series "Mujaki no Paradise" may just be for you.

Be warned though, there are a lot of lewd and naked scenes concerning 5th graders here. A bit more intense visuals of getting into compromising positions than "Kyou no Go no Ni". Its essentially over sexualization of elementary students.

Its the story of Handa Shouta, a 25 yr old NEET who, after being ridiculed in his class reunion, fell into the school swimming pool, then transported 15 years in the past to his old 5th grader self. He is determined to change his ways with his 15 years of experience while going through life as a 5th grader. But the innocence of his classmates (especially the female ones) gets him in a lot of trouble, and ends up changing the relationships he had in the past as a child.

The art is average for a seinen-style manga (with detailed and above average rated drawings in nude scenes), and the story can be wrapped up with a short series, but what gets me interested is the way the characters started to develop romantic feelings or such, with the main male protagonist being oblivious to it. I wanted to find out how all these changes he made with his life would actually affect his future.

And the various portrayal of children being that innocent about the opposite sex at that age is, in my opinion, exaggerated. Well, it may differ from each individual's upbringing or the environment they were exposed to, but it does make for some funny situations.

The nude scenes may be set up as eye candy for the readers, but the more vulgar ones I think the series can do without.