Archive for Reviews

Manga Review: Chi’s Sweet Home (vol. 1)

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Konami Kanata’s Chi’s Sweet Home is a story about as simple as a story can be. When a gray-striped kitten is separated from his mother, he is discovered by a family with a young son, Yohei. The problem is that Yohei’s family lives in an apartment complex that doesn’t allow pets, so they secretly keep the kitty around as they search for a permanent home for her. But after a while, Yohei, mama, and papa eventually grow attached to the kitten, and they even name her Chi. It becomes obvious that they are never going to give away the kitty as she has quickly become a part of their happy household.

It is no secret that I love Chi, and it certainly ranks up there as one of my all time favorite series. I already own most of the comics in Japanese, and the anime earned the #2 position on my Top Anime of 2009 list last year. So I am expecting a lot out of this title when Vertical releases it later this month. In fact, I have never anticipated a comic’s English release more than I have with Chi’s Sweet Home.

And so I am thrilled to report that Vertical’s release is very, very well done.

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Anime Review: Appleseed (Blu-Ray, 2010 Dub)

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Bringing the classic 80′s manga into the world of CGI animation, Appleseed tells the story of Deunan Knute, a tough chick and veteran war hero in the post apocalyptic cyber-future world of 2131. While in the middle of an epic battle against many big machines, Knute is sedated and taken away to the utopian society of Olympus, where humans and human clones live together in peace. As it turns out, the war is actually over, and she is asked to join Olympus as the protector of their city.

But of course, just like any utopian society, something goes horribly, horribly wrong. A terrorist organization wipes out the facilities needed to keep the clones alive, and the only thing that can save them is the Appleseed, a bit of data created by Knute’s late mother. But as Knute dives deeper into the search of the this critical piece of information, she uncovers that the conspiracy runs far deeper than anyone had anticipated. Many powerful enemies stand between her and the survival of the artificial species.

Fans may have remember that the movie was originally released in the US by Geneon Entertainment in 2005. However, the company did not last much longer after that and the film’s sequel, Appleseed Ex Machina, was later released by Warner Brothers with a completely new dub cast.

Well now Sentai / Section 23 has rescued the original movie, and they redubbed it with the Ex Machina cast for better consistency between the two films. And for the first time ever, they’re releasing the computer generated anime film on Blu-ray disc.

And oh god, does it look freaking sweet!

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Anime Review: Strike Witches (Season 1)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Okay, I guess I need to say a little more about this series than what I posted earlier

In a fictionalized World War II era world, Earth is being attacked by a mysterious alien race known as the Neuroi. When traditional military forces come up short in combating the threat, the world turns to the girls of the 501th Joint Fighter Wing, the Strike Witches, as their last hope for humanity.

The Witches are an ensemble team of young women from around the world with magical abilities, which periodically manifests itself in the form of animal ears and tails. By attaching the special machinery known as Striker Units to their legs, the girls’ magical powers are enhanced and they also gain the ability to fly. With the Striker Units in place, the girls take to the sky to do battle with the Neuroi in high altitudes.

The first season of the Strike Witches TV series centers around Japanese school girl Yoshika Miyafuji. Because of her magical healing ability, she is recruited by Mio Sakamoto to join the girls of the 501st. The pacifist Miyafuji is reluctant to become a fighter in the war, but when she discovers that her missing father is the inventor of the Striker Units, she goes along with Sakamoto in search of him.

It is no secret that I love Strike Witches. For the past few months, I have been heavily promoting the series on my twitter and blog as FUNimation has been embarking in their tongue-in-cheek “War on Pants” campaign. But my love for the show has been there since it first debuted in Japan nearly two years ago. I named it my #1 anime release of 2008 because it was the first commercially successful anime to be legally available online for a global audience.

However, there is a reason why this became such a big seller in Japan. In a market that has been overflowing with moé titles for years, Strike Witches manages to take the science of fan pandering and make a goddamn masterpiece out of it.

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Manga Review: My Darling, Miss Bancho! (vol. 1)

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

In order to relieve her recently divorced mother of tuition cost, the young Souka decides to transfer from a private high school to the local vocational school. However, when she shows up to her first day of classes, she is shocked to find out that she is the only girl enrolled there!

There’s a reason why all the girls had dropped out of this tech school. The boys are very tough and fights often break out between the different classes. But amid all this chaos, there is one unwritten law that all the boys abide by, and that is the role of the bancho, or gang leader. Simply put, there is one bancho who rules over the entire student body, and in order to dethrone the leader and take his place at the top of this pecking order, you must knock the crap out of him in a fight.

Needless to say, the poor innocent Souka wants nothing to do with the feuding between the classes or power struggle of the bancho. However, because she is the only girl in school, all of the boys go out of their way to make her feel warm and welcomed. So she decides to stick around the school and eventually becomes friends with the cool Katou-kun. But one day, she accidentally knocks out the school’s current bancho, which means that she takes over as the new gang leader. Can the sweet girl actually rule over this student body of thugs and riffraffs?

My Darling, Miss Bancho is the first (and so far only) comic by shojo artist Mayu Fujikata. While her inexperience is evident on every page of this volume, it ultimately ends up being her greatest strength as CMX Manga releases another winner in this shojo title.

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The Daily Almanac: Obligatory Summer Wars Review

Monday, March 15th, 2010

So after a huge mix-up  regarding my coverage of the NYICFF this year, I was finally able to catch a screening of the highly anticipated new film from Mamoru Hosoda, Summer Wars, last weekend. Well, pretty much everyone and  their mother has seen the film and have written a review of it, and for the most part, the film has been unanimously praised by everyone.

However, I wasn’t quite as wooed over by the film as everyone else was, and when I tweeted this out, I got some peeps asking me to do a review on it. Well, I wasn’t really planning on doing this, so here’s my brief review of Summer Wars using as little spoilers as possible.

Summer Wars is a good movie, it might even be a great movie. But is it as amazing as the hype makes it out to be?

Far from it.

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