Archive for Reviews

Anime Review: Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple (Season 2, Part 1)

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Kenichi is on the quest to become the world’s mightiest warrior by training in a dojo with six – that’s right, six – different masters teaching him six different fighting styles. And now that he’s gain so much skill in the martial arts, he is being targeted by the leaders of rival gang Ragnarok, who pick fights with him on the streets. But with the help of his female classmate and training partner Miu, the two of them take on any opponent that dare to challenge his six different styles.

The first season of Kenichi: the Mightiest Disciple completely flew under my radar last year because it did not really look all that interesting with a plot like that. However, it ended up becoming a sleeper hit for FUNimation. In fact, the company has said that the reason why they are releasing this second season is because the fan support has been so huge for this series alone.

So I decided to finally give this series a shot with its second season to see what all this hype could be about. But needless to say, I did not find it all that appealing. If Soul Eater was a throwback of all the awesome anime series I remember watching while growing up, then Kenichi is certainly a throwback to all the mediocre ones.

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NYICFF 2010 Review: Oblivion Island

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Review originally posted on November 6, 2009.

What ever happened to all those old toys and doodads you had when you were a kid? Doesn’t it feel like they have just simply vanished off of the face of the Earth?

That is the premise behind the latest anime movie from Production I.G., Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. As a child, Haruka heard an old Japanese fable of how all the items that have gone unnoticed and forgotten by people eventually get picked up and taken away by nature’s most sneaky creatures, foxes.

Now your typical rebellious teenager, Haruka wonders what ever happened to a mirror given to her by her late mother. She happens upon a Shinto shrine and makes an offering to the gods to return the mirror to her. There she encounters a tiny fox-looking creature named Teo carrying an abandoned toy plane.

While following him, she is suddenly swept away to Oblivion Island, a secret world inhabited by Teo’s people and built entirely out of the objects that humans have long forgotten about. So now she teams up with Teo to explore the island and find her long lost mirror.

The movie is making its official debut this weekend at the New York International Children’s Film Festival, but Fuji Television was generous enough to invite me to an exclusive screening of the film last October. What I saw was an absolutely delightful children’s film filled with more imagination, heart, and wonderment than the last two Miyazaki films combined.

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Anime Review: Soul Eater (Part 1)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Set in the world of the “Death Weapon Meister Academy,” Soul Eater tells the story of students who partner with weapons in order to battle demons and monsters. The weapons are normally human, but they transform into swords, pistols, and various other inanimate objects in order to do battle. Their goal is to collect the souls of 99 evil humans and the soul of a witch in order to create the ultimate weapon for their head master, the Grim Reaper himself, Death.

The series centers around three pairs of student “meisters” and their humanoid weapons. Our main heroine is the spunky Maka Albarn with her cool-as-a-cucumber scythe, Soul Eater. They are joined by their classmate, the self-centered and egotistical Black Star, and his chain scythe weapon, the sweet and motherly Tsubaki. And finally, the Grim Reaper’s own son, the comically OCD Death the Kid, eventually joins the team with his twin pistols, Liz and Patty.

There has been a lot of hype about this anime series from the anime community since it debuted two years ago. I have seen a huge number of Soul Eater cosplay at anime conventions, so I feel like I was already familiar with a lot of the characters even without ever watching a single episode. And at last year’s New York Anime Festival, both FUNimation and Yen Press teamed up to make a major push for the series to become the main event of the convention that weekend.

But like all very popular mainstream anime series, I was very skeptical as to just how amazing this series could possibly be. So I popped in these first 13 episodes preparing myself to be very disappointed.

So did I find Soul Eater to live up to all the hype?

Oh, hell yeah, I did!

In fact, I loved every minute of this kick ass anime series.

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Manga Review: Stolen Hearts (vol. 1)

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Measuring in at well over six feet tall, 17-year-old Miharu is one intimidating dude. In fact, his entire high school class is absolutely afraid of him. So when the shy Shinobu accidentally spills milk on his bag of expensive Japanese clothing, she figured that her life was all but done for.

But rather than beating the life out of the girl, Miharu demands that Shinobu works off her debt to him by taking up a part time job at his grandmother’s kimono shop. And as the two work together passing out flyers for the shop, Shinobu begins to realize that Miharu isn’t actually as mean and intimidating as he looks. In fact, he’s actually quite a sweetheart.

Stolen Hearts is the American debut of shojo artist Miku Sakamoto, whose Nadeshiko Club will also be coming out later this year from CMX. While the art might seem like a bit of a turn off, Sakamoto fully redeems herself with one of the sweetest and most heartwarming romantic comedies I’ve ever read in manga form.

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iPhone App Review: Fullmetal Alchemist State Alchemy Exam

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Well, since the entire world has been abuzz over the recent announcement of Apple’s new iPad yesterday (which, by the way, I am totally buying as soon as it comes out). I decided to finally sit down with the latest official anime iPhone app and put it through its paces. After all, this app will also be available on the iPad in a few months.

The Fullmetal Alchemist State Alchemy Exam (iTunes link) is the second anime franchise coming to the iPhone from Japanese developer Appliya. A year ago, they released a series of novelty Evangelion apps, such as a clock and sticker app I was able reviewed on this blog last February. Now Appliya has partnered with FUNimation Entertainment to bring a number of the company’s top properties to the interactive small screen, and the first one up to bat is the very popular FMA franchise.

The State Alchemy Exam is essentially a trivia game that combines questions about the first FMA anime series (“What is the last name of Edward and Alphonse?”) with questions about Physics (“What is the process of changing a liquid into a gas?”) and Chemistry (“The bubbles in soda are caused by what gas?”). You begin at the easy level and when you can answer all 10 out of 10 questions correctly, you can move on to a more difficult level.
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