Anime Full Review: Princess Principal

•January 21, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Princess Principal takes place in a fictional London-esque land called Albion, a country with growing friction between the lower classes and the ruling classes. Eventually, tension levels rise to the point of a coup, causing Albion to be split into two different governing bodies: the Commonwealth (representing the lower classes) and the Kingdom (representing the ruling classes).

Within all of this, a spy who hails from the Black Lizard Planet is born:

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While the setting sounds very much like it would focus on the conflicts of the country and struggles of power between the two governing parties, it mostly focuses on a team of spies as they follow through with their orders. There are elements of everything that I mentioned above, but what it mostly focuses on is the story and relationship between those in the team. Now, I believe introductions are in order:

While we are given backstories for Dorothy, Chise, and Beatrice, the bulk of the series is actually dedicated to these two:

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Unbeknownst to the rest of the team, Ange and the princess actually met ten years prior to the start of the anime. The two has already established a relationship while they were kids, but due to the conflicts of their country, they were forcibly torn apart. And now, ten years later, they find themselves back together. Though, to be fair, both sides took a large amount of risk, time, and effort to get to this point.

During the coup, Ange was left in a pile of rubble after she fell into a newly collapsed hole. The anime never really went into how she ended up joining the Commonwealth. They just kind of glossed over that she was adopted into it at a young age and then went to spy school, where she was the best in her class. So, after having endured a near-death experience, she was basically plucked off the streets and told to go to this special school which teaches you how to do special things, so that you can go risk your life to carry out missions for your country. And somehow, through all of this, she manages to not only survive, but exceed. She was the top spy of her class, and showed great potential for being something more. However, as good as she was, her only goal was to find the princess and see her again. All of that hard work, all of that effort to learn and train – just so she can see her friend ten years past again.

And from the princess’s side, she had to continually endure and uphold her facade in front of everyone. All the time. She had to be the perfect little princess everyone expected her to be, which I can imagine is a very exhausting endeavor. Especially, as you will find out in episode 8, it is not something she is particularly fond of doing. Then, as she sees Ange again for the first time after ten years, she finds out that the other girl is a spy for her enemies. And, in order to stay with her and to be able to be friends with her again, she decides to defect and become as spy for the Commonwealth herself. Talk about love…
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Anime Episode Review: Citrus 01 & 02

•January 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Citrus is an anime about two step-sisters who end up falling in love with one another. Although their first meeting did not leave a good impression for either party, they eventually get to know one another on a deeper level as they live together. Now, I am getting a bit ahead of myself. As there are really only two episodes out right now, they haven’t gotten to that point yet in the anime.

I’m not sure how widely known of a fact this is, but the manga for Citrus has been running since about 2013. A lot of us who followed the manga closely have been waiting for this for over 4 years now and are super excited to see the adaption into anime. Before I delve any deeper into my review, if you would like to read the manga and support the artist, you can get them here.

A disclaimer before I continue: I have read all existing English-translated volumes of the manga, so I may unwittingly give away some spoilers. Please forgive me if I do.

Also, please note episode spoilers within.

Now, moving on to the main point of this post: CITRUS! ANIME! YAY! Let us first introduce the characters that matter:

The first episode was mostly spent introducing characters and delving into their initial dynamics. So, you have the introduction of the protagonist and the first signs of conflict between Yuzu’s and Mei’s personalities. We also get introduced to Taniguchi Harumi, Yuzu’s first friend at her new school who will learn her the ropes of how the uptight school works.

Side note: Harumin is one of my favorite characters in the series. And I especially like her Aladdin-esque motto:

“You’re only in trouble if you get caught”. Spoken like a true street-rat turned prince.

In the second episode, we see much of the same conflicts leftover from the first, except here is where Yuzu grows a bit. After being kissed, the blonde finds herself unable to shake the feeling. Then after a small accident that leads them both into the bath, realization hits that she has those kinds of thoughts about her newfound sibling. It doesn’t appear that she spends a great deal of time delving into these feelings, but she eventually pinpoints what it is: a crush. A huge crush on her little step-sister, at that.

And I say “it doesn’t appear”, because Yuzu comes off as an action-first, think-later type of girl. The anime does show her sadness about Mei’s departure. They show her sleeplessness while the other is gone, and they show that she’s lonely. But, through all of this, I get the feeling that while she is sad that Mei is gone and she realizes the source of her misery, she never did quite connect the dots until her conversation with Harumin. The part where she questions herself, “what feelings do I want to convey?” tells me, she never really delved into figuring out why she was sad with Mei’s absence. She just accepted that she was.

For some reason, I can’t help but recall a line by a famous purple puppet, “search your feelings, Jeff-fa-fa“. I mean, even as she made her bold confession of undying support, she didn’t realize the depth in which she meant it:

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Until this hits her:

So far, the anime has followed the manga pretty closely. My only complaints lie within the small deviations it has from manga. Most of them are relatively minor, but they did reorder the sequence of events just a tad bit. And they added and subtracted some stuff. However, there is one deviation that I support: there is a scene in the manga where Yuzu unwittingly follows Mei back to her grandfather’s house, whereas in the anime, Yuzu uses the excuse of returning Mei’s bag to get there. Less creeper-esque, in my opinion.

With the way the anime seems to be progressing, I am excited to see it continue. And I am curious how they will end it.

My episode(s) rating: gold_stargold_stargold_stargold_starhalf_star

Anime Full Review: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

•January 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon is a slice of life anime which centers around a dragon named Tohru and the human whom she has an undying love for, Kobayashi.

Let’s meet the main cast:

…and the supporting cast:


Now that we’ve met everyone, let us move on to the actual review of the anime:

After a night of drinking to vent her frustrations, Kobayashi awakens the next morning, rushing off to work, only to be stopped by this on her way out:

After revealing herself to be the dragon that drunken Kobayashi unwittingly invited to live with her, her processes starts running to connect the dots. (I relate to these two panels on many levels because I am an engineer like Kobayashi).

The conclusion she has internally come to was the ever-classic “this is not really happening”, but she chose to go with the flow to further understand the situation she was in. When Tohru rehashes the story of what happened the night before about how they meet and how Kobayashi ended up inviting her to be her live-in maid, the engineer was reluctant to accept at first, stating “what’s impossible is impossible”. Except she later made it possible. Hence, begins the journey of Tohru learning the ropes to become a suitable maid for our beloved Kobayashi.

Given that the anime is slice of life, there is no real central plot. You just kind of follow the lives of the characters and watch the hijinxes of their everyday life play out. I won’t go into too much detail with the supporting casts in this review, but I will quickly mention some things about each one. Takiya-kun is also a systems engineer, who works in the same company as Kobayashi. Because of their similar hobbies, they tend to go out drinking together and generally hang out as friends. Fafnir is a hikikomori dragon, who comes off as one who wishes to destroy the world at the slightest inconvenience. Later in the series, he decides to live in the human world with Takiya and is seen as a game addict. Lucoa is not really a dragon, but something else entirely. Let’s not get into that right now and just leave this tidbit on the note of, she is quite…something. Saikawa is Kanna’s classmate and friend. She also happens to have a ginormous crush on our young dragon. And lastly, Elma is Tohru’s sworn enemy. She barges into Kobayashi’s apartment, claiming to retrieve Tohru back to her original world, and fails miserably. And after said failure, she ends up staying in Japan, working at the same company as Kobayashi, and all around making very difficult life choices, such as which ice cream flavors she should pick.
Continue reading ‘Anime Full Review: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon’

Anime Initial Reaction: Psycho-Pass 2

•October 18, 2014 • 1 Comment

Screenshot from 2014-10-18 10:35:08

The long-awaited season 2 of Psycho-Pass has finally arrived! And in it, Tsunemori has become quite a bit of a badass herself. I mean, she started off as this naive girl trying to figure out her purpose in life in season 1. And with the help of all those around her, she turned herself into quite a competent inspector, but in here, she’s doing things all her way. One word to sum it all up: BADASS.

We see that quite a bit of time has elapsed between season 1 and season 2 here when her kouhai listed how long she’s been working as an inspector. At the end of season 1, they showed her stumbling onto the scene for her first day of work, so we know that was day 1 for her. Which means the time elapsed is approximately as long as she said she was an inspector, which is over 1 year. So far, I’ve only had time to watch the first episode, but what I have seen so far, I’m very happy with.

As I have stated, Tsunemori has become a very competent inspector. She is able to predict the motives and moves of her perpetrators much better than any of her colleagues, which allows them to strategize an appropriate counter-measure. Along with that, her defensive and offensive skills seem to have improved a lot, which no longer makes her the damsel in distress that she was sometimes portrayed as in season 1. Let’s look at some screenshots of badass Tsunemori, shall we? (Click to view in gallery mode.)

Of course, with a new badass character, it seems we would need a new damsel in distress. Observe: (Click to view in gallery mode.)

So overall, I think the tone has been more or less set with this first episode. We see that Inspector Tsunemori has become a very reliable officer and then we find a new person who plays the less reliable officer. I sense some tension between senpai and kouhai, just based on their interaction and how the kouhai has a tendency to question Tsumemori’s methods. However, this is all stuff that I’ll have to watch play out. All in all, I’m very excited to see how everything unfolds.

Oh! And one last screenshot before I end this:

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Tsunemori’s response when she was questioned for her decisions by her kouhai. Simple and to the point. And said with such aloofness that it was somehow COOL. Please don’t disappoint me in future episodes, Tsunemori! xD

Initial Rating: gold_stargold_stargold_stargold_starblank_star2

Anime Full Review: Akuma no Riddle

•September 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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I feel like I’m a little late on this review since I’ve actually watched this so long ago. I was following it when it came out, but for some reason, never reviewed it. So, here are my belated thoughts for the series.

First, a short summary: Azuma Tokaku was sent to a special school to be in a special class called the “Black Class”. In this Black Class, everyone is an assassin except for the target, Ichinose Haru. The rule of this class is that, whosoever successfully assassinates the target will be granted any one thing that they want. Originally, Azuma was one of the assassins who were after Haru’s life, but early in the series, she decided that she wanted to protect her instead. So begins the tale of a very skilled bodyguard, a damsel in distress, and the many people who are after her life.

Now, let’s introduce the students of the Black Class: (click on an image to view in gallery mode)

Throughout the series, we are given a little bit of insight into each of the assassin’s perspective, so we always know why they want to kill Haru. And while that was nice, I feel like most of those stories were rushed. There were even some instances where it was just glossed over and never really explained. Such as, how was Chitaru able to join the Black Class even though she isn’t really an assassin? Or is she? She was portrayed to be this kind and chivalrous individual that I found it hard to believe her capable of actually taking another human life voluntarily. There was Shiena, whose story we don’t actually really know because she was just written off without having accomplished anything but a few minutes of screen-time. There was Otoya, where we know she’s a psycho serial killer, but there was no other information of her besides that. There was Haruhi, who we know was only in the assassination business because it provided enough money for her to take care of her family, but we don’t know anything about her beyond the fact that she has a huge family she needs to care for.

So yes, I like the series. I liked the premise and the action and sexy Haruhi, but it was way too rushed for me. I want more back story for the characters, I want more action between the Black Class, and I want some character development within the series.

Before I end my review, I have one more thing I’d like to say: CONGRATULATIONS HARU!

For graduating AND getting the tomboyfriend. 😀

Overall rating: gold_stargold_stargold_starblank_star2blank_star2

 

Anime Full Review: Soul Eater Not!

•September 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Soul Eater Not! follows the story of Tsumugi Harudori, a middle school girl who one day found out that she was a weapon. So reluctantly, she was shipped away to Death City and go to Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA) in order to learn how to control her weapon-ly powers. Immediately during her orientation, she was told that she would need to a find a partner, a meister who could wield her in battle. Lucky for her, she has two contenders vying for that position.

Now, it’s important to note that these girls are enrolled in the Normally Overcome Target (“NOT”) class, which is kind of like a beginners course for teaching weapons how to control themselves. In the original series, the class that Maki and Soul are in is the Especially Advanced Talent (“EAT”) class. Since they’re in the NOT class, the series isn’t as action packed as the original. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s no action, just less. And since they are technically beginners, you get to watch them struggle to refine their skills as the two meisters fight over Harudori.

Overall, it’s not a bad series, but it’s highly predictable. And it’s one of those “feel good” anime where everyone gets a happy ending except for the bad guy (who inevitably gets killed, because that’s what happens to bad guys in action-packed anime that involves life and death). I would have preferred for the main protagonist to be less whiny and a little more badass given that she is a weapon, but I’m satisfied with Anya being a badass herself, despite being a princess who is supposed to be all proper and whatnot. Speaking of Anya, if I had to choose a favorite character from this series, it would be her. Why? Because she’s got a cute tsundere side, she’s thoughtful, she’s good with weapons, and she’s a true friend. I don’t have a lot of opinions regarding Meme, since my original thought of her is that she’s kind of annoying with how easily she forgets things, but as the series progressed and we figured out why she’s always so forgetful, I was less annoyed. And then the series ended, so it wasn’t like I was given insight to what she was like when she actually remembers things. Therefore, in the end, I will have to settle with a big question mark about her.

Here are some screenshots for the first episode. Click on an image to view this in “gallery” format.

And one from the last. See that floaty red ball? I find it hilarious that they are toting it around on a string.

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Rating: gold_stargold_stargold_starblank_star2blank_star2

Anime Rant: Bodacious Space Pirates

•August 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Let’s add Bodacious Space Pirates to the list of anime I’ve completed this year. After finally catching up with Fairy Tail, I decided to venture to this anime, on the recommendation of the internet. :3

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

At the start of the anime, we meet Kato Marika, who is shown to be a very skilled pilot, a hard worker, and an honor student. She is visited by two mysterious people who claim that they were space pirates, broke the news that her father was a space pirate and is now deceased, so they ask her to become the next captain of their pirate ship, Bentenmaru. After much deliberation on her part, and the support of both family, friends, and yacht club members alike, she decides to take on the endeavor of becoming a space pirate captain. After that, training, training, and more training happens before she finally takes her very first job: pirating a luxury cruise line of all of their valuables! The entirety of the anime basically chronicles Marika’s adventures as a pirate, who is also a student, who also works part-time at a maid cafe. We see her growth as a pirate captain throughout the series, especially at the grand battle in the end, where she earns the respect of a lot of veteran pirates.

Anyway, allow me to backtrack so that I can post a bunch of screenshots. First, let’s meet the cast:

Now that we’ve been introduced to the people in the show, let’s move on to seeing Marika at her very first pirating job:

And last, but not least, the famous chocolate parfait everyone seems to love:

Now that I’ve gotten the pretty pictures out of the way, let’s move on towards my thoughts on the show. If I had to choose whether or not I liked it, I would say I liked it. I think it’s a good anime, but if I said that it was the best anime I saw this year, that would be a blatant lie. There was actually very little character development in the series outside of the main protagonist, so that was qualm number one. Two, I would have liked to see Marika’s character hardened a little more from some sort of conflict that forces her to reflect on herself and her role. In my opinion, for an anime about space piracy, it was too light. At one point in the anime, Marika lost the Bentenmaru’s Administrative ID ring, which is actually a really big deal since the ring has the capability to control the entire ship. I mean, she lost a ring that could have cost her the entire ship, but instead of making a big deal out of it to instill how important the ring is, everyone was just kind of like, “oh well, no big deal… just find it” and was more upset that Marika was late than the fact that she lost this really important ring that could control the entire ship. Luckily, the ring was found by one of the members of the yacht club, but could you imagine what sort of trouble she would be if it ended up in the hands of someone who had evil intentions? =___=

So yeah. It wasn’t bad. I just think it could have been better.

Rating: gold_stargold_stargold_starblank_star2blank_star2