Friday, July 23, 2010

Occult Academy - 02

In this episode, wacky antics run a muck as Maya is threatened by both naked spoon-benders and the late principal's red-headed assistant, who admittedly has a great character design. Though not as great as Maya, of course.

Always classy.

Honestly, Occult Academy is far from intellectual. Though it and Shiki are the two series sharing the horror genre this season, the two are completely different shows. Occult Academy is humorous in a sarcastic way and it certainly doesn't take itself seriously. It's going for a fun, entertaining tale with a unique spin on Nostradamus' crazy prophesies, and so far it really delivers.

The characters are a lot of fun to watch, and the male lead is really entertaining and interesting. Abe Minoru/#6/Bunmei-kun is particularly interesting because of the way he was portrayed as a clone. There are five other Abe Minorus who seem to have the same looks as our Bunmei does. So why was he a well-known child psychic featured on tv? My theory is there are (or were) 6 different people who all looked the same and because of their similarities they all have psychic powers, too. It's not a well-thought-out theory and it is certainly not sensible, but Occult Academy isn't a sensible show. It throws reason out the window in order to gain an amazing ability to kick ass and take names.

Like all child stars, our poor Bunmei-kun must have been tossed aside after he became old enough that his spoon-bending trick was creepy rather than charming.

If you aren't impressed by Occult Academy, whether it be in its clever writing, interesting plot, or great visuals (courtesy of the lovely A-1 Pictures), I have to wonder what kind of tastes you have.

Overall: 9.5/10

Legend of the Legendary Heroes - Episode 03

This episode actually takes a very serious turn into exploring not only the war itself but also the true extent of Ryner's powers. I think what is very interesting about his powers is that they seem to be an entity completely different from his conciousness, a voice telling him to activate them and tempting them rather than his own concious decision to activate them and use them. Ferris's brother, the guy who always has his eyes closed, is now introduced as more of a psychopath than a savior or do-gooder of any kind.

Don't look at me Ferris. He's YOUR brother.

This episode was also very well done in that it gave legitimate reasons for all the characters to be in the positions they were shown in at the beginning of the series. For example, Sion, having been the only survivor of the battle besides a traitor and a 'monster', gained considerable publicity and power as a celebrity. This undoubtedly played a large role in him gaining the title of king as it drove him into the limelight and probably garnered him a lot of respect. Meanwhile, Ryner became even more misunderstood and his rampage only proved to many that bearers of the Alpha Stigma are monsters. As for Ryner's girlfriend there... yeah.

Estabul Magic Knights: biggest douchbags of summer 2010.

Mostly, I'm interested in where the series goes from here on out. Will it continue this surprisingly mature turn of events or will it go back to its fantasy antics? Only time will tell. For now it is certainly obliged to return to exploring Ryner's powers once he has another breakdown somewhere along the line.

Overall: 8.5/10

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shiki - Episode 02

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't that interested in where Shiki was going. Truth be told, even though my review of the first episode wasn't exactly raving, over the week I have gotten more and more excited about where the story is going and I've been getting more and more anxious to see the next installment.

In episode 2 of Shiki, we learn that Natsuno is kind of an ass, Megumi is still probably stalking him as a ghost, and that the village girl with the weird shaped hair has a lot of profound thoughts and will become a more major character.

On the Natsuno side, this episode makes it clear that he is a lot more like Megumi than he knows: he wants to leave the village and he dislikes associating with the people in it. He's also too much of an ass to fulfill a dead girl's (probably) last wish of accepting her postcard. Bastard. Hopefully he'll get some more development soon because right now he just has hair way too messy for me to like him in any way shape or form.

Oh you motherfucker.

One of the major points of this episode that I really felt come through was the feeling everyone in the village was getting from these murders. I felt as though everyone was effected emotionally by these murders, since everyone knew each other because of the small town environment. With these ten people dead, it seems probable that everyone in the village knew at least one of them well enough to grieve their deaths.

The creators used village girl (I really should learn her name) as an example: Megumi's death, someone she had been with ever since childhood, caused her to think seriously, for probably the first time in her life, about the concept of life and death. In such an isolated village, many of these people live peaceful lives without being exposed to the everyday misery and poverty which would be surrounding them in, say, a poor part of the city. The creators captured this feeling as something new and very unusual in the village and that really helped with the building of the atmosphere in this case.

A character that was happy-go-lucky yesterday isn't smiling 24/7 and is now contemplating life and death seriously this can't be anime WHAT IS THIS

As for the mystery portion, the doctor is busy at work investigating and we can only wait anxiously at our seats until they visit the mansion. Man oh man, I could just feel the buildup growing and growing. There had better be a lot of payoff for this.

Overall: 8/10 (wow outdid the first episode. good job Shiki)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Legend of the Legendary Heroes - Episode 02

In this episode of Legend of the Legendary Heroes, (or DenYuDen which we will be calling it from now on), Sion Astal is severely beaten, watches his mother die, and has his murdered puppy's corpse sent to him in a gift-wrapped box.

Asides from that, the entire episode is focused on revealing the past between Sion, Ferris Eris (good god) and Ryner. While Ryner and Sion are poor members of society forced to be trained for military use, Ferris is part of a rich noble family.

But man oh man, they really forced out the tragedy of Sion and Ryner's childhoods. They seem intent on making these guys have the worst lives ever. Although Sion's goals stem from his experiences as a child who was prejudiced against because of his social standing, Ryner on the other hand has learned to not give a fuck and so he just tries his best not to stand out.

This episode had some of the most heavy-handed characterizations with these characters' backstories. Oh yeah, and those other characters who aren't even named? They were MADE to killed off after Ryner loses control of his Alpha Stigma in the next few episodes (its inevitable).

I thought it was interesting how Sion acted very similar to a villain, and if a few of his goals had been tweaked he would have been one. He has the tragic backstory and his goal is to become king of the country, but instead of wanting to conquer it for his own selfish gain he instead strives to end the current age of corruption on the country. Had it not been for his mother's kind words and eagerness to do good, he probably could have been the villain in this story.

Would look more menacing if the text wasn't blatantly in front of his mouth.

I'm also likin' Ferris more and more, because of her great deadpan personality and the fact that it doesn't fit in with her looks at all. Her long blonde hair and blue eyes are a refreshing difference to set her apart from the quiet, serious girls with glasses and hair of the black/white/purple variety. Even though her facial features are nothing out of the ordinary she is still manages to set herself apart just with a little color changes. Now how 'bout that.

My other main observation for this show: the ending theme reveals the major aspects of this show: sad children, and fanservice for every type of person. Ferris for straight guys/lesbians, Ryner for straight girls/gay guys, and Sion for everyone except straight guys. There's also a lot of Ryner/Sion gay innuendo. If you're into that sort of stuff.

Sion later remembered that he actually wanted Ryner for his penis.

Overall Score: 8/10

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Anime 2010 BLOGGING SCHEDULE!

So this season hasn't exactly been the best anime season in awhile. But what do you expect? Summer has a reputation for being worse than fall and spring anyway, both in show quality and the number of shows released. I didn't have the highest of hopes in the first place. Truth be told, I wasn't disappointed by this season as much as I thought, but more like... underwhelmed. The shows aren't all bad, but most of them are only decent. Let's just say that few shows impressed me.

Anyway, here are the shows I'll be blogging for this summer season, along with my rankings for the summer debuts. And hopefully by the fall I'll get enough new readers to feel like making this sort of thing is warranted. -_-;

(1) Occult Academy -----> Blogging

(2) Legend of the Legendary Heroes -----> Blogging

(3) Shiki -----> Blogging

(4) High School of the Dead -----> Blogging

(5) Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi -----> Blogging

(6) Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan -----> Watching

(7) Seitokai Yakuindomo -----> Not watching or blogging

(8) Mitsudomoe -----> Watching

(9) Shukufuku no Campanella -----> Watching

(10) Amagami SS -----> Not watching or blogging

(11) Asobi ni iku yo! -----> Not watching or blogging

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Anime 2010: Debut Reviews IX

High School of the Dead

This show wins a lot of 'best' awards this season. First, there's best direction: the whole first episode is like an exercise for director Tetsuro Araki to show his chops and create the most adrenaline-pumped atmosphere of any show I've seen in a long time. Let me tell ya, I read the first chapter of the manga awhile back and I was not impressed. Ol' Tetsuro here turned that around and created a rich dramatic atmosphere, elevating it from utter trash to solid entertainment. Even his 'pinky promise' flashback was waaay better than the original.

Also wins most conflicting imagery of the season (if this image does not impress, please keep in mind the gore-fanservice combo in all zombie scenes).

Secondly, it wins best animation from me. Although Shiki had style and Occult Academy had some nice animation with its supernatural battle, this thing keeps the action coming and there is never a moment where anything looks out of place or lazily done. The whole episode is dripping in production values from the writhing zombies to the shiny asses and bouncing breasts of our female characters.

Back Pain of the Dead

But while the show is certainly chock full of suspense, the most I've seen in years, it will never be anything more than pure, unadulterated entertainment. The characters won't become much more than stereotypes and the fanservice will continue even as the girls are being eaten alive (which will probably cause some confusion among the male viewers). At least it won't try to be; that would be awkward.

Overall: 7/10

Summer Anime 2010: Debut Reviews *Shit Edition*

Asobi ni iku yo!

It's bad.

And it only gets worse.

Overall: 2/10