Sunday, May 29, 2011

OTOME YOUKAI ZAKURO "Demon Maiden Zakuro" [Complete Series]


"Demon Girl Zakuro," an ongoing favorite in Gentosha Comics's Monthly "Comic Birz," is being adapted into anime form! Watch Lily Hoshino's gorgeous characters in motion!
This story takes place during the Westernization Movement in an alternate world where humans and spirits coexist as young half-spirit girls team up with army officers to battle against spirits who would do wrong!
Onward with the spirits!
[CrunchyRoll description of Otome Youkai Zakuro "Demon Maiden Zakuro")

Original Japanese Title: Otome Youkai Zakuro
Dubbed by: Undubbed.
Animation: J.C. Staff
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Otome Youkai Zakuro" by Lily Hoshino.
Rating: (rating unknown)

{I, the reviewer, give Otome Youkai Zakuro "Demon Maiden Zakuro", 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I remember seeing clips of this anime in a Multi-Editor AMV mix for the song "Watercolour" by Pendulum. I instantly wanted to know what anime that was so I could watch it. It was called Otome Youkai Zakuro, and luckily, it was available for streaming at CruncyRoll. It was a rather short series, only 13 episodes, so it shouldn't take too long to finish. So, I began watching it.

The first sequence we see is Zakuro, our heroine, in battle. She quickly takes down a huge monster with ease. This takes place in a slightly alternate Japan, during the Westernization. In this alternate world, spirits and humans coexist. However, many humans do not like or fear the spirits. The military starts this thing called Spirit Affairs, where soldiers would be paired with a half-spirit to investigate several human-spirit cases. The soldiers sent are Agemaki, Riken, and Ganryu. Agemaki is paired with our heroine, Zakuro, whose specialty is fighting. Riken is paired with Susukihotaru, whose specialty is sensing the feelings of living beings, as well as objects. And then Ganryu is paired with the twins, Bonbori and Hozuki, whose specialty is singing during battle and magic rose petals.

It's kind of hilarious how Agemaki is apart of Spirit Affairs, due to the fact he is deathly afraid of spirits. It probably doesn't help he is paired with the hot-tempered Zakuro, who isn't afraid to call him weak and a wuss. Despite the odd pairing, they end up being our main canon couple and eventually start to have feelings for each other. As the series progresses, we learn that there's a secret about Zakuro. Kushimatsu knows about it and Zakuro begs to know but Kushimatsu tells her that it's not yet time. We do know she is very powerful, and there are other spirits after her. Why is that?

All in all, I highly enjoyed this series. It was rather fun and intense to watch. I loved to see how the relationships between the half-spirit girls and their soldiers developed, as well as all of the comic relief between them. The story in itself was rather interesting, mostly revolving around Zakuro's past. There were even moments where I cried, as some of the stories are sad. And a few of the battle scenes were intense enough to put you on edge, wondering if they'll be able to make it out. Though I wouldn't call this much of an action show. It's a bit of a slow paced series, mostly focusing on character developement and finding out about Zakuro. But the action that does take place is rather satisfying and executed very well, and happens often enough. I also really liked the character designs and animation. The colors were very beauty and I love the way the eyes look. The ending was decently satisfying. When I say "decently" I don't mean that I didn't like the ending (I did, it was cute) but I still wish there was more. But I can tell you that everything is pretty much wrapped up in the climax, leaving no more questions about Zakuro. Anyway, it's not perfect, but is still worth a try.

Recommend?
Sure. It's a cute, engaging series, with a storyline interesting enough to keep you hooked. Plus it doesn't take long to finish and it wraps everything up fairly well in the climax.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music is pretty nice and fitting for the show. I especially love the opening song, as well as the song the twins sing.

[SUB VS. DUB]
There is currently no dub for this anime. However, the original Japanese is done well with splendid acting.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
"Otome Yokai Zakuro" by Lily Hoshino. No movies that I know of.

[RELATED TITLES]

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
I acutally don't remember any. If there was, it must of been very minor.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
The shop owner of Ori's is seen smoking on her first appearance. At the ball, both Bonbori and Hozuki get a little drunk.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
In the opening sequence, there is some brief undetailed nudity of the twins. Zakuro is also seen naked in the opening, but is covering herself with her arms. The shop owner of Ori's is very well endowed. When Zakuro meets her, the first thing she says is "they're huge!"
Also, The Black Widow is even more endowed and there were a couple of shots focusing on her cleavage line. When Agemaki and Zakuro go to a village for a case, they both have to sleep in the same room and Zakuro freaks out (nothing happens between them, though).
(SPOILERS! When Hanadate (the soldier Zakuro crushes on), who is revealed as Lord Omodaka captures Zakuro, she is chained to a bed and he tries to kiss her and probably go further, but she pushes him away. He wants her to bear his child. He senses some of her power on Byakuroku and kisses her, pulling her in very close. Also, we later find out that Omodaka and Zakuro have the same mother, but Omodaka only wants Zakuro to bear his child, though it still seems like incest there is no love, and he never actually gets the chance to wed and mate with her anyway.)

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
In the first episode, Zakuro kills a huge monster and there's blood all over her face. When Susukihotaru is entranced by the demonic blade and tries to kill Mugi and the Ori's shop owner, Riken stops her by grabbing the blade and there's some blood. The Black Widow seduces men and eats them (but it's not shown). During one case, Agemaki and Zakuro are faced with a huge monster that feeds on women and children. The cave which it dwells has skeletons of the victims and it's breath smells of rotting corpses. Most of the battle scenes aren't very bloody, though there are alot of injuries.
(SPOILER! When Zakuro sees her mother's memories, there is a scene where her father is killed in front of her mother and his blood splats all over her face. When Zakuro finally defeats The Black Widow, Omodaka rushes to where the mother's body is, and finds she has finally decayed).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
The entire premise of the show is about humans and spirits coexisting with each other. Zakuro, Susukihotaru, and the twins are Half-Spirits, half human and half fox spirit. They have powers and fox ears on their head. There is a place called The Village Of Oracles, basically the spirit world. When pregnant women are spirited away, they come back bearing half-spirits. So there's alot of magic use and spirits.
(SPOILER! The reason why spirited away women bring back half spirits is because a ceremony is conducted to transform their child into a half spirit. Females are the lucky ones, 'cause for the most part they look human, but males do not).

*EPISODE LIST*
1. Prepare to be Bewitched
2. Crimson Brilliance
3. Tragic Past
4. Timid Distance
5. Sticky Trap
6. Onward Together
7. A Feline Home
8. Fickle Rain
9. Joy Of Love
10. Creeping Shadows
11. Hollow Touch
12. Looming Crisis
13. The Brilliant Finale

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NO FATE


NoFate- A sweet oneshot story about the price of life itself. ^^
Nothing is what it looks like... <.<
(Smackjeeves description of No Fate)

~*~Click Here To Read*~*

Manga-Ka: Alera
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Not rated

{I, the reviewer, give No Fate, 6 out of 10!}


COMMENTS

This manga, despite only being 7 pages +cover in length was rather thrilling. In such a short span of time, the story is engaging from the start! It's about a girl named Ayumi atop a building. She wants to jump and commit suicide. A fellow student from the same school, Akira, quickly meets her up at the building and asks her why she wants to kill herself. She cannot speak, so she writes it down, saying..."it's THEIR fault..."

This story is very mysterious and dark. At the end, there's still so many questions that are left unanswered, but it seems the Alera-sama would rather leave it that way. I was intrigued and pulled in at the start, each page wondering what was going to happen next, all the time wondering who is this "they" that Ayumi speaks of? I have to admit this manga had me a bit on edge, and the shocking moments were very well placed. But as a dark story, I can't promise you any hope of a happy ending.

All in all, if you're a fan of the thriller/horror/gothic/supernatural genre, then you'll probably get a good kick out of this piece. Though it appears unsatisfying, for the genre, it's best to be written this way, leaving the mystery open. You'll be asking yourself what has this "they" done to Ayumi and Akira. What is their motive? Are they evil spirits? Or perhaps voices of a person's own insanity? However, the dialogue was written with several grammar mistakes that made it a little hard to follow, so it wasn't as clear as it should be. That's my major complaint. But overall, I liked the art style, the confusing plot, and the open ending. Though I can't say I like how it ended, it was a thrilling read for only 7 pages.

Recommend?
I'd only recommend this manga to those who are a fan of this genre. But it's very dark, so I suggest most people should stay away from it if you're depressed or would like to stay in a cheery mood.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Ayumi wants to commit suicide. She writes a note saying her tongue was cut out so she can no longer speak. Near the end...
(SPOILER! Akira takes off his eyepatch and reveals he has no eye, but its not graphic. Also, at the end, it seems to imply Ayumi was shot and there's blood on a note).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Ayumi is suicidal. There is talk about these people and only refers to them as "they" or "them" (voices or demons, maybe?). It's a very dark story.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(this is a oneshot)

Monday, May 23, 2011

PALE COCOON [OVA]


Before we knew it, humans were living here in this world. A future where the continuity of history has broken off, a world of enormous ruins that continue endlessly. Ura works in the Archive Excavation Dept., which excavates records of the past world. One day, he restores a mysterious visual record...
(CrunchyRoll description of Pale Cocoon)

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Undubbed. Watch the subs on CrunchyRoll.
Animation:
Manga adaption?: No, this is an original series.
Rating: (rating unknown)

{I, the reviewer, give Pale Cocoon, 7 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

This 23-minute OVA was directed by YOSHIURA, the same one who directed Time Of Eve and Mizu no Kotoba. It's about a man named Ura and a woman named Riko who both work in the Archive Excavation Department. In these archives are recors of the past world humans used to live in known as the "green world" (aka Earth). Humans now live in a gigantic station that have multiple levels, most people residing down in the bottom away from the top. Ura is very interested in digging up the old records, to learn about the past and finds that very important.

While Ura is analyzing some of the newly found records sent to him, he uncovers a strange video. It's scrambled and distorted, so he has to work on restoring it. Riko is usually found lying on the ground, just lookng upward. At first glance, one might think it's because she's lazy and doesn't want to work, but later on in the story you will find out the true reason she is always lying there. Ura shows the video he is trying to restore to Riko. He is very interested in finding out about that book she is holding. Riko explains that's how they used to keep records, on printed books instead of electronic ones. Though many people have wished the archives were never uncovered, Ura wants to know about the world before. Eventually, he finally restores the video...

I have mixed feelings about this anime. I was in awe at the beauty of the animation and found the music to be quite lovely. The song in here is also very beautiful, but also a bit sorrowful. Despite this anime's beauty, I have to say that it is a bit depressing. Although I know nothing like this could ever happen in reality, to think of a world like that where the world as we know it is only history of once was is a very depressing thought. The people in this anime live in some kind of gigantic, metal dome of some sort. Some of the emotion I felt in this anime, aside from saddness, was also emptiness. Perhaps it was due to the fact that there was no mention of hope or any kind of higher power, so it leaves you with a somewhat empty feeling. However, I have to admit I did like the ending. Though abrupt, it was hopeful. But it was a very open ending. An interesting thing to note is this anime was marked as "OVA 1" like there were plans to make more, but so far, there is no news of another episode in production. Despite the ending, however, it seems it was made so you can either continue or stand alone. So it can go both ways.

Though I felt a little unsatisfied with this anime, I'm glad I watched it once, and I probably wouldn't mind seeing it again someday. The animation, the music, the sci-fi themed story was all very brilliant, but there were a few things that I admit I did not like in this anime. So even though I'd consider this a very artistic piece, I don't suggest watching this when you're feeling down. This is not something to watch if you want to stay in a cheery mood. It's not ultra depressing or sad, but just enough where you'll be dwelling on it just a little, thinking about it. Perhaps that was the idea of the OVA, to make you think. I'm not sure. But I can tell that YOSHIURA is a talented director, and I hope to see more from this director in the future. Maybe someday they'll be a sequel to Pale Cocoon that'll make it a little more satisfying, but for now, it's okay standing by itself.

Recommend?
I don't consider this a "must see" but it's something quick to watch. It is very eye-pleasing, and also very, very clean content wise. Though I wouldn't recommend it to younger viewers due to it's slow pace and deep storyline.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
I found the music to be very lovely, fitting the theme of the anime, as well as the one song that plays near the anime's climax.

[SUB VS. DUB]
There is no dub, you can only watch it subbed on CrunchyRoll. But the acting is done very well in Japanese.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
None that I know of.

[RELATED TITLES]
Unrelated titles by YOSHIURA "Time Of Eve" and "Mizu no Kotoba".

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There is a mention of a death and near the end Ura is seen with a little blood on his face. But that's all.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There was a comment about humans originally coming from the ocean. Also, there is some enviromental themes in here, as the reason for the people living here was due to over population and destroying the Earth's enviroment. In the song Ura restores, there was a line that says "when people believed in God".

*EPISODE LIST*
This is a single episode OVA.

Monday, May 16, 2011

POKEMON 3: SPELL OF THE UNOWN


Fall under the SPELL OF THE UNOWN! Get set for an action-packed adventure unlike anything you've seen before! A crystal catastrophe is unleashed upon Greenfield and Ash, Pikachu and friends must figure out how to undo the damage to the once-beautiful town. But the unthinkable happens when Ash's Mom is kidnapped by the powerful Entei, a Pokemon thought to have existed only in legend. Now Ash must go to her rescue, uncertain of what he'll uncover when he unlocks the real secret power behind the unbelieveable turn of events: a young girl whose dream world is being turned into a nightmarish reality by the most unstoppable Pokemon ever -- the Unown!
(From the backcover of Pokemon 3: Spell Of The Unown)

Original Japanese Title: Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā Kesshōtō no Teiō ENTEI (Pocket Monsters: Emperor Of The Crystal Tower ENTEI)
Dubbed by: 4Kids
Animation:
Manga adaption?: No.
Rating: G

{I, the reviewer, give Pokemon 3: Spell Of The Unown, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

The thing I like most about the Pokemon movies is that they are usually quite deep with an engaging storyline. The films offer alot more than the actual television series. The third movie in the Pokemon franchise is no exception. In fact, I'd have to say that this film is probably my favorite of the Pokemon movies I have so far seen. It's one of the most mystical and mysterious anime films I have seen. I remember when I watch this film in theaters. Sadly, it appeared the only ones there was my parents, brother, me, and a mother and her son. I'm not sure if this film was a hit or not, but that's too bad, 'cause that would mean TONS OF PEOPLE seriously missed out on an extremely EPIC Pokemon adventure unlike anything you've ever seen!

It's about a girl named Molly. Her father, Professor Hale, is a researcher of Legendary Pokemon. Molly's mother had mysteriously disappeared (reasons unknown) and her dad busy with work, so she is often lonely. We are introduced to both Professor Hale and his daughter when he is about to tuck her in bed. He shows her a book of legendary Pokemon where the artist imagines what some of them may look like. Molly's favorite is Entei. Suddenly, he gets an e-mail of an amazing discovery at one of the ancient ruins, so he goes there to investigate. That is when he is taken by the Unown. Molly is heartbroken that both of her parents have now vanished. She opens a box of these letter tablets that have pictures of the Unown, and she uses it to spell "Papa" and "Mama". This summons the Unown, and that's when the trouble begins! Her entire household is turned into a crystal castle, and begins engulfing the entire town of Greenfield! Everything Molly wishes becomes a reality.

Our heroes Ash, Misty, and Brock happen to meet another trainer named Lisa. They all decide to go to Greenfield and are horrified to see what is happening. At the Pokemon Center, they run into Professor Oak and Ash's mother. When Molly sees Ash's Mom on the screen, she wishes for her mother, and so Entei kidnaps Ash's mother and takes her to the Crystal Castle to replace Molly's mother. Ash is determined to rescue her, and along with his friends, venture into the castle where anything can happen. And as usual, somehow Team Rocket find themselves wound up in the story for no apparent reason.

Everytime I watch this movie I am simply in awe. The animation, mixed with a touch of CGI effects, is completely gorgeous! The magical storyline is filled with mystery, determination, and sincere emotion. Even at the film's climax it remains a mystery, as certain questions go unanswered, but it is best left that way for the mystique of the story. And the best part is that the film, despite some left over mystery, has a very satisfying ending. Be sure to watch the ending credits to get complete closure of the film, as an important scene does takes place. Overall, if you're a Pokemon fan, I'm sure you'll enjoy this movie. But even if you're not and think Pokemon is dull and uninteresting, you'll be proven wrong when you watch this movie, as it offers so much more than the series itself!

Recommend?
This has to be one of the best Pokemon movies ever! Whether you're a fan of Pokemon or not, this is a film well worth seeing as it's beautiful in both visual effects and storytelling woven with mystery.

I recommend this *ANIME NEWCOMER WORHTY* as alot of us anime fans got started on Pokemon, and this film has the beautiful mystical feeling and mystery of anime without being overly confusing.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
I actually found the music really good and fitting for the film. They matched each scene perfectly, whether during action scenes, frightening scenes, emotional scenes, etc.! I hope it's on the soundtrack!

[SUB VS. DUB]
This is only the English adaption, and possibly an edited version. However, the voice acting in the dub is actually done quite well. There were a few times where it seemed a little stiff, but overall it was done well.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
Way too many movies to list here. I think there are some manga adaptions of the series.

[RELATED TITLES]
Way too many series and movies to list O.O

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Brock always goes head over heels for pretty girls (as usual), but it's for comic relief and is pretty innocence.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's a couple of Pokemon matches when Molly challenges them, and Brock and Misty accept her challenges. Just the usual fights, no blood or serious injury. When Ash tries to take Molly out of that place, Entei defends her and battles Ash and his Pokemon. There was a seen where Entei almost kills Ash's Charrizard, but Molly stops him.

[RELIGOUS MATERIAL]
"The Unown" is one of the legendary Pokemon, and are of the Psychic variety. They are the reason for Professor Hale's disappearance. They have the ability to tap into the thoughts of other life forms, including humans, and are turning Molly's thoughts, dreams, and wishes into a reality.
(SPOILER! Near the film's climax, it almost seems to be hinting that Entei was Molly's father, since he was captured by the Unown, perhaps his subconcious mind was inside the Entei Molly had dreamed, and when the dream world dispeled, that is when her feather was finally released.)

*EPISODE INDEX*
Pikachu and Pichu (Short Film)
Pokemon 3: Spell Of The Unown

TSUBASA RESERVOIR CHRONICLES [VOL.2]: Seeds Of Revolution


BRAVING THE FATES, Syaoran, Kurogane, Fai and Sakura must continue on their journeys with stout hearts and heroic determination. These four must travel through dimensions unknown on their quest to reunite the princess with her memory. As each new world offers up new adventures, trouble has found them in this one even before they arrive... Delivered into a land suffering under evil rule. With the help of a young orphaned rebel, the noble crew must unite a weary populace to overthrow the cruel feudal lord and his brutal son. The uprising will prove fierce and the magic astounding... But victory must be achieved before the quest can continue.
(From the backcover of, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles [Vol.2]: Seeds Of Revolution]

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Funimation.
Animation: Bee Train.
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" by CLAMP.
Rating: PG.

{I, the reviewer, give Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles "Seeds Of Revolution" [Vol.2], 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

When I first got into Tsubasa Chronicles, it was the second world that really got me hooked to it. That's when I felt the story really started to get interesting. This second volume of the anime contains the last episode of the Hanshin Republic arc where they discover who's kudan contains Sakura's feather, an unlikely candidate. Once Syaoran finally pulls out the feather and returns it to his beloved princess, he finally has to face the reality of the price he payed to Yuuko to begin this journey. When her eyes open and she sees Syaoran faithfully by her side, the first thing she asks is "Who are you?". Due to the price of his wish, he tells her the situation, leaving out the fact that the two of them have known each other since childhood.

So the journey continues and they land in the second world. And instantly, they find themselves in the middle of trouble once again. But this time, it's alot more serious. This town is under the evil rule of Lord Tombal and his son who practices "hijutsu" the secret art and uses it for selfish gain. Chun'Nyan, a young girl who's mother was killed by Tombal, wants to help overthrow the evil lord and his son, as well as avenge her mother's death. Tombal's hijutsu is being amplified by Sakura's memory fragment. It's hard for Mokona to sense do to the many magical waves, since the town is surrounded by a protective barrier keeping the people in and others out.

This is one of my favorite arcs of the series. It has a well written backstory, nice action sequences, as well as beautiful, emotional parts. But one of the interesting things about this arc is how Chun'Nyan refers to Sakura as "God's beloved daughter", which by her deceased mother's definition is someone whom God pays special attention to and that's why they're so lucky. In other words, it seems to refer to someone blessed with God's favor. Now, when translating Japanese it can be tricky, as the word for God ("kami") can be translated as God, a god, or many gods. So the phrase could of been translated as "beloved daughter of the gods" (which I think it is in the manga, from what I remember in volume 19) but I am glad Funimation had chosen to translate it this way, as it adds a wonderful, beautiful depth to the story. Sakura is a gentle and kind soul, a loving and caring person, so it would make sense that she would be a blessed child. Even though that part isn't mentioned too heavily, it was very inspiring to see in a story such as this.

All in all, this was an excellent volume containing a wonderful set of episodes. It ends with a cliffhanger, making you eager to watch the third volume which contains the last episode of this arc before they continue on their journey. I really have no complaints, as this arc is almost perfect, very little flaws. If you enjoyed the first volume of Tsubasa, you'll enjoy this volume even better!

Recommend?
HIGHLY! This is where I feel the story really kicks in and becomes exciting. If the first set of episodes didn't pull you in, this one will.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
Beautiful, as always. Matching the scenes quite well.

[SUB VS. DUB]
Excellent in either language.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
1 movie "Tsubasa Chronicles: Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom" and based on CLAMP's manga "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles".

[RELATED TITLES]
"Cardcaptor Sakura" and the edited version "Cardcaptors", the movie "Tsubasa Chronicles: Princess Of Birdcage Kingdom" and it's sister "xxxHOLiC: A Midsummer Night's Dream", the OVAs "Tsubasa TOKYO REVELATIONS" and "Tsubasa Spring Thunder". Also related to "xxxHOLiC", "xxxHOLiC Kei", "xxxHOLiC Shunmuki" and "Kobato" due to episode 20.

[DVD EXTRAS]
Character Guide, World Guide, Faces In The Crowd: Cameos from the CLAMP Universe, Textless Songs, Trailers.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None (based on the dubbed translation).

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
When Syaoran reaches into someone's kudan, that person is in pain (but does not die). In the second world, Chun'Nyan mentions Tombal was the one who killed her mother (in a flashback, you see her already dead, but it's not graphic). There was also a house burnt down due because they did not pay their taxes (whether people were inside is uncertain). There are also battles, but they are bloodless.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
The kudan that Sakura's feather is inside supercharges it with alot of power, so the wielder can no longer control his kudan. In the second world they are in, there is a secret art called "hijutsu". Chun'Nyan's mother told her that hijutsu is to be used to bring happiness to others, and not for selfish gain. The evil lord Tombal and his son use hijutsu for evil, having it amplified with Sakura's feather. After Sakura wins 4 first prizes, Chun'Nyan tells her she is God's beloved daughter, whom her mother described as someone God pays special attention to and that's why they're so lucky (this is actually quite endearing and not offensive). Tombal took Chun'Nyan's dead mother inside his castle so that her body will not rest in the earth and her soul will not ascend to Heaven, but forever drift in limbo. There's also a woman named Kiishimu, Princess Of Shadows who is manipulated by Tombal to use her hijutsu for his doing.
(SPOILER! Chun'Nyan's spirit temporarily inhabits Sakura's body. After she has a long talk with her daughter about hijutsu, her spirit leaves).

*EPISODE LIST*
6. Unshed Tears
7. The Broken Memento
8. God's Beloved Daughter
9. Princess Of Shadows
10. Mirror Of Seperation

Sunday, May 15, 2011

TIME OF EVE [OVA series]


The future, probably Japan.
Robots have long been put into practical use, and androids have just come into use.
Influenced by the Robot Ethics Committee, it’s become common sense for people to treat androids like household appliances. Their appearance - indistinguishable from humans except for the ring over each android’s head – has lead some people to empathize unnecessarily with androids. Known as “android-holics,” such people have become a social problem. Rikuo (Jun Fukuyama), a high school student, has been taught from childhood that androids are not to be viewed as humans, and has always used them as convenient tools. One day Rikuo discovers some strange data in the behavior records of his family’s household android. Rikuo and his friend Masaki (Kenji Nojima) trace Sammy’s (Rie Tanaka) movements, only to discover a mysterious café that features a house rule that “humans and robots are to be treated the same” . . .
(CrunchyRoll description of Time Of Eve)

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Undubbed. Watch the subs on CrunchyRoll.
Animation:
Manga adaption?: No, this is an original series.
Rating: (rating unknown)

{I, the reviewer, give Time Of Eve, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

How'd I come across this six-episode anime? Well, I actually saw a review for it on a friend's blog and decided to finally give it a try myself. I was absolutely in awe at the beauty of the animation. Everything is so clear and smooth. Also, one of my favorite seiyuu was in it, Jun Fukuyama (who played Watanuki in xxxHOLiC). And the story? Well, it's quite a simple one. Yet beautifully executed. It's about humans and androids. Rikuo is wondering where his android Sammy has been. He and his friend Masaki find the place - Time Of Eve.

So, what exactly is Time Of Eve? It's a small cafe where everyone is welcomed, just as long as you follow this one rule: no discremination against humans and robots. Here, everyone is treated the same. Rikuo and Masaki is a little disturbed that an android was able to act on it's own, without an order. They figure it must be a "grey zone". Both Rikuo and Masaki start to visit the cafe more often to learn more about this place and meet all kinds of interesting "people". But there's an organization called The Robot Ethics Committee which wants to close places like these down.

For an anime that focuses most of it's time in the cafe, it was brilliant! In a short amount of time, you already start to get close and feel for these characters. You want to know their story and why they've come to Time Of Eve. Some backstories are given, others only merely mentioned, but enough to tie everyone together. I really loved the final episode, as it explained why Masaki is the way he is. I have to admit that this series had me in awe. I laughed and I even cried. And now, I'm inspired to make a manga about androids O.O

My only complaint is how short it was. Being a short anime, you can finish it quickly. However, despite how well executed it was for only six episodes, there was still so much more to be explained and so much more character developement to happen. However, Rikuo explained this being his story of how he enjoyed Time Of Eve and that more happened - but that's another story. Hopefully, a second season is in the works that will go further into what the Ethics Committee is planning and how Time Of Eve will endure. But for now...you may not bere here for that long, but I hope you enjoy Time Of Eve!

Recommend?
Yes! It's a simple story, but brilliant in it's simplicity. Who knew an anime about A.I. could be so simple? Despite how short it is, it's worth watching. It's delightful and very enjoyable for almost all ages (but if you plan to show younger viewers, I suggest skipping episode 3 due to some sexual content). It may seem a little weird at times, but should definantly be appreciated.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music is rather nice and fits the mood perfectly well.

[SUB VS. DUB]
This is subbed-only for the time being and can be watched at CrunchyRoll. But the voice acting is done extremely well.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
There's a theatrical version called "Time Of Eve: The Movie" but it sounds like it's nothing more than just all six episodes as one, having a bonus song. I also heard there is a manga adaption of this.

[RELATED TITLES]

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
I remember only 1 "h".

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Don't think there was any.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
In the third episode, when Rikuo's sister is watching TV, there's a brief mention of androids being used for sexual intercourse. Also, Rikuo kept staring at one of the women's chest. Her outfit shows her cleavage line.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Other than seeing a robot expload, none.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Time Of Eve is a cafe where humans and robots come together, and it seems like the robots have feelings and some of their masters care for them, too. Nothing disturbing, though.

*EPISODE LIST*
1. Akiko
2. Sammy
3. Koji & Rina
4. Nameless
5. Eve's Melody
6. Masaki

Friday, May 6, 2011

MISTRESS FORTUNE


Fourteen-year-old Kisaki Tachikawa has psychic powers. She works for PSI, a secret government agency that fights aliens. She's in love with her partner Giniro, but PSI won't allow operatives to get involved. Just when Kisaki thinks she may be getting closer to Giniro, she finds out she's going to be transferred to California!
(From the backcover of Mistress Fortune)




Manga-Ka: Arina Tanemura
Distributor: Viz Media
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Teen

{I, the reviewer, give Mistress Fortune, 6 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I won't lie that I appear to have a developing love for shoujo. Looking at my collection, I like shoujo manga more than I thought! Just look at some of my favorite webcomics at SmackJeeves! O.O Man, I got to find some more shounen series, quick! But no matter. As a girl, there's no shame in lovin' shoujo, right? This single-volume story, "Mistress Fortune", is a sci-fi/fantasy story by Arina Tenemura. I really enjoyed the first volume of her new series, "Sakura-Hime: The Legend Of Princess Sakura", and when I saw this manga and saw it was by the same person, I decided to give it a go. The story sounded fun and interesting, the artwork is cute as usual, and it's short to boot, so it won't take me long to finish!

It's about Giniro and Kisaki, two fourteen-year-olds who work for a secret organization called PSI, where they fight "ebe" (weird little alien creatures). However, they are not allowed to exchange personal information to each other, they only see each other at work. Giniro is highly skilled in his powers while Kisaki still needs alot of work to master them. She is in love with her partner and is not sure how to convey her feelings, especially due to the PSI restrictions. And what's this?! She might be transferred from PSI Japan to PSI America??!!

It was a fun read, to say the least. I highly enjoyed it and wish to see it develope more. I hope Tanemura-sama someday releases a sequel, but it's still a good stand-alone volume. The relationship between Giniro and Kisaki is extremely cute, but the only thing I did not like is how Giniro is such a pervert! He keeps talking about how large Kisaki's breasts are, which sickened me a few times. Though it was funny how Kisaki reacted towards that, which made the story more funny. Still, it was quite bothersome. I have no idea how Kisaki could even have those feelings toward a guy who thinks that way about her. Maybe it's a weird way of him showing affection? Even so, it's rather disgusting.

I loved the part when Kisaki went to California and experienced some "culture shock". What's interesting is the character Nancy is an actual person from Viz! In the end notes, she mentions what an honor it was to be used as a character and she explains all the references to Tanemura's visit that shows up in the manga. Also, the two extra Mistress Fortune bonus stories are cute, too. It almost feels like it serves as bonus chapters, but they're still bonus stories due to the fact they really have nothing to do with the main plot. The first one is about Ebe-ko trying to get a job to earn some money so she can be a Shiroganese. The second one, which I liked the best (despite some of the characters' dirty minds), is where Dr. Gunjo's sabordinates are suspicious that he's really a woman, and so they hire Giniro and Kisaki to find out!

Though I adored this cute little story, Giniro's perversion did drive me crazy several times. Why is he so obsessed with her cup size? WHY??! Is that really all he thinks about?! Despite that, I still enjoyed this story, and will probably read it several times over, but due to Giniro's perversion alone, I have lowered my score way down to "it's OK" number 6.

Recommend?
If you like a nice light-hearted adventure that deals with aliens and psychic powers (and can ignore Giniro's perversion), it's a sweet little story that is absolutely adorable! But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger than 14.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
None, surprisingly.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Don't think so.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Giniro keeps talking about Kisaki's DD size breasts. In the second bonus story, Dr. Gunjo's sabordinates think he's a woman and want Giniro and Kisaki to uncover his secret! There's also a scene where Giniro is on top of Kisaki. Nothing happens, but Dr. Gunjo spots them and wonders what they're doing. When the two are at Dr. Gunjo's, they all sleep on one bed and Dr. Gunjo rolls over to Kisaki, practically hugging her (not to be sexual, though, he's unaware of what he's doing 'cause he's dreaming). When Giniro goes beserk with his powers, Ebe-ko tells Kisaki to do a panty shot.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Fantasy and slapstick violence. No blood at all. There is mention of death, but it is not shown.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Giniro and Kisaki have psychic powers and they fight "ebe" (little alien creatures). They appear to undergo a transformation to become Quartz and Tiara (instant, you see nothing), where they have wings. They also have a special drink that enhances their psychic abilities. Their outfits as Quartx and Tiara has a cross on it. In the second bonus story, when Giniro goes "beserk" with his powers, there's a crazy narration about him ruling the world, being known as the "thunder god" being feared by all, but this is a joke and for comical purposes, not to be taken seriously.

*CHAPTER LIST*
Chapter 1: Angels Descend From The Sky?! Mistress Fortune
Chapter 2: A Fight Like No Other! A Maiden's Heart Lies Within Hear Breast?!
Chapter 3: The ESP Of Love! At Times Be Honest?! Absolute Awakening
Bonus Story: Ebe-ko's Earth Immigration Plan
Bonus Story: Dr. Gunjo's Secret?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood [Part 2]


The moment has finally arrived for fans of Edward and Alphonse Elric as the brothers encounter new characters, dangers, and mysteries in Part Two of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, “the most anticipated new anime in years.” (Otaku USA)
The path to the Philosopher’s Stone now enters unfamiliar territory, where the Elrics face exotic strangers who use alkahestry, a version of alchemy native to the distant kingdom of Xing. As insight is gained into the secret world of the Homunculi and their enigmatic creator, Lust feels the fires of Mustang’s rage in battle – and the outcome of the clash will shock you. Winry endures the trial of her life when new horrors of the Ishvalan massacre are revealed. Truly, the gate is opening on a new era of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Are you ready to see what’s on the other side?
(Amazon.com description of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood [Part 2])

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Funimation
Animation: BONES
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Fullmetal Alchemist" by Hiromu Arakawa.
Rating: 14+

{I, the reviewer, give Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood [Part 2], 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

I loved the first anime series of Fullmetal Alchemist due to how complex, deep, and beautiful it was. However, I did not really like how the movie concluded things. Still, it ranks as one of my top favorite series. I also am enjoying the manga, however, I am still in the process of reading it and have yet to get to the volumes where the anime had diverged. Now, the second series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is not a sequel but a complete remake of the first series. Done by the same animation company, the episodes in the "Part 1" set is a rehash of what we've already seen. However, since this anime series is based close to the manga, those differences would probably follow the manga more closely. But the first series had expanded that part so beautifully, and since I already seen it, I decided to go ahead and skip the rehash and start on the part where the new stuff kicks in (I will eventually watch "Part 1" though and see how the rehash was done and review it, so don't worry!).

I was a bit hesitant at first about watching the remake series, as the CAA review seemed to report much more gruesome content in the violence department. However, I had the same feelings for the first series at one point, and since I loved the first series too much and have been enjoying the manga, I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did. Despite having to close my eyes and cringe many seems, due to some of the graphic nature, I was amazed at where the story was going. So this was how Hiromu Arakawa intended for the series to go? Though I love the first series, the second series is even more brilliant, deep, and emotional! And also, switching from emotional to comedy almost seemlessly. The story almost seems darker and more shocking than it's counterpart. We're introduced to new characters; Mei Ching and her panda Shao Mei from the country of Xing. From the same country is Ling Yao,a prince from Xing, with his ninja guards Fu and Lan Fan. They are searching for the secret of immortality to save their country. We are also introduced to a different type of alchemy known as alchehistry (sp?), a type of alchemy that specializes in healing.

Every episode I watched, I was utterly amazed. I was wondering what a character would do next and why a character did what they did and the explanation behind it. And I still have so many question! Who is "Father"? What did Trisha mean when she said "sorry that I died before you"? What do the homunculi need human sacrifices for? What does the people of Xing need immortality for? And so much more, but I can't say, as it'll give away spoilers! If you loved the first anime series, you will really love this one! Almost everyone in the English cast reprised their roles, except for Alphonse and Scar. It was understandable why Aaron Dismuke could not reprise the role of Alphonse due to his voice maturing, and Maxey Whitehead actually does a pretty good job to sounding similar to him, but I don't know why the guy who played Scar didn't come back. Though I was skeptical at first, I was surprised how well J. Michael Tatum plays him! (Still, the original dub voices will always be what I hear when I read the manga!)

Some of the violence and dark tones are a bit frightening and disturbing, compared to the first anime series, but it all adds to the depth of the story. I am curious to see how the story plays out in the next set of episodes, as the last episode in this set leaves you hanging. All I know is that it appears the series is setting us up for more twists, turns, and shocking revelations!

Recommend?
Yes without a doubt! This series is even more brilliant than it's counterpart, so if you loved the first "Fullmetal Alchemist" than you'll love "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" even more!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
There were times where it seemed the music didn't fit, but overall the music is pretty good, and probably worth getting the soundtrack. I really love the second ending "Let It Out".

[SUB VS. DUB]
I've only watched the dub, and it is excellent.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
"Fullmetal Alchemist" manga by Hiromu Arakawa.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Fullmetal Alchemist" the first anime series.

[DVD EXTRAS]

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Words such as "h", "d", and the other "b" word are used quite a bit, as well as one use of "b" word that ryhms with witch.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Jean Havoc is seen constantly smoking.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Havoc finds out that Lust was his girlfriend, Mustang comments on how Havoc has always been a sucker for large breasts. Also, when they focus in on her tattoo, you see her breast bounce and she says how it's not polite to stare. Besides that, I don't remember anything.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
The violence in here is more gruesome than the first anime. During the battle between Wrath and Greed, Wrath severely injures Greed and it's rather graphic with alot of blood. A woman hiding in Alphonse's armor is killed inside him and blood spills. Lust badly injures both Havoc and Mustang. Riza shoots Lust up with all of her bullets, but of course, Lust doesn't die. When Ling Yao and Edward are trapped in void, they are literally in a sea of blood. Alot of battle scenes where people get battered up and bleeding.
(SPOILERS! It is implied that Mustang burns Maria Ross to a crisp and all you see are her remains, but in truth, her death was faked and Mustang only made it look like he killed her. Mustang burns Lust over and over again and she screams in pain and eventually dies and blows away as ash. We find out that Scar murdered Winry's parents. It's really not shown, but you get the idea.)

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
There's of course your alchemy use and the arays looking much like hexagrams. There's the homunculi (artificial humans). The portal is known as "The Gate Of Truth" and Gluttony was "Father's" failed attempt at creating his own portal of truth. Ling Yao and Mei Ching are looking for a way to obtain immortality to save the country of Xing. There's alot of talk about human sacrifice. The candidates are those who have opened "The Gate". When Ed discovers these ancient ruins, there's an inscription that basically says something like "I will smack God down" or something to that effect. When Ling Yao notices how Ed uses alchemy without a circle, he thinks in his head how it almost looks like he is praying.
(SPOILERS! We find out that the thing Ed and Al brought back when trying to bring back their mother was actually not their mother, but something else entirely, so they are relieved they did not cause her to die twice. Fuher Bradley, though a homunculus, was actually a real human at one time, but later became Wrath. Envy's true form is a horrible green monster with a bunch of human souls in constant agony trapped inside him. These souls were from an ancient city that disappeared in one night. In order to get out of the defective "Portal Of Truth", Ed had to transmute those souls inside Envy).

*EPISODE LIST*
14. Those Who Lurk Underground
15. Envoy from the East
16. Footsteps of a Comrade-in-Arms
17. Cold Flame
18. The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human
19. Death of the Undying
20. Father Before the Grave
21. Advance of the Fool
22. Backs in the Distance
23. Girl on the Battlefield
24. Inside the Belly
25. Doorway of Darkness
26. Reunion

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A STORY OF GEM: BOTTLED UP CONFESSION


A young man moving to a new home. A little girl with a strange quirk. What happens next?
(Smackjeeves description)

Manga-Ka: Le Mishie
Distributor: Online exclusive.
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Not rated

~*~Click Here To Read~*~

{I, the reviewer, give The Story Of Gem: Bottled Up Confession, 4 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

The first time I read this one-shot was in an issue of DREAM, the online manga magazine I submit to. This is actually one out of a collection of different oneshots about Gem. I thought the story was interesting and cute, and unique considering there is no dialogue. It's like watching a silent movie, manga style, and the artwork is rather nice, as well as how it was tone. It's about a young man who moves in and he keeps seeing this young girl who likes to collect bottles.

However, I did not know it was a lolicon. The young man in the story, in my opinion, looks like a young teenager. Though from closer examination and reading it again, I think he might actually be older than that (say, college age or just out of?). And the little girl, Gem, well it seems as if she has a crush on him. Not much of a big deal, since little girls do have crushes on older guys. However, near the end, it almost seems like he feels the same way for her. It wouldn't freak me out so much if he were like 13 and she was only 5 years younger, but it appears they have a larger gap than that, and that just seems wrong to me. I'm not really sure how far aprt in age they are, but it's obviously more than 5 years (at least as far as I can tell). Nothing happens between them, and even the author said it's not explicit lolicon, but it's still there.

So despite it's cuteness, unique storytelling, and brilliance, the fact that it is lolicon has lowered my score way down. It was really hard for me to do that, as I did really like the story, but despite it not being explicit lolicon, it is still lolicon.

Recommend?
Due to the nature of the comic, I personally cannot recommend it.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
No dialogue, no language.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Gem kisses nameless guy on the cheek and there's some blushing. Gem's dress is rather short, but not to be revealing.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
None.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
None.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(this is a oneshot)