Archive for Anime

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Anime Review: RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Rin Asogi and her partner, Mimi, run a “consulting firm” in Shinjuku. It is all just a front, of course, as the two girls are actually private investigators who specialize in the dark and paranormal. While pursuing a missing cat, Rin runs into Kouki, a mysterious man with his memory erased. But when she decides to take on Kouki’s case of missing identity, she goes down a deep dark hole of a major conspiracy, and eventually she ends up dismembered into a bloody mess.

But there’s a catch. Rin and Mimi are actually immortal, so no matter how many times Rin is gunned down or dismembered, she sprouts right back to life. So sets up RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~, an epic 6-episode OVA* thriller spanning over 65 years and multiple generations.

And it is the first “must watch” anime series of 2010.


Anime Review: Linebarrels of Iron (Part 1)

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Middle schooler Kouichi Hayase has always wanted to be a hero, an “ally of justice” as he likes to go around saying. Well, his wish comes true when a naked girl,Emi Kizaki, suddenly comes crashing down on him, killing the boy instantly. Emi has no choice but to revive the boy by infusing him to Linebarrel, a big ass battle mech.

Now with the power to call on Linebarrel and pilot the machine, Kouichi becomes of interest to JUDA, a weapons manufacturer working with the United Nations to fight off a global mysterious alien threat. But after Kouichi joins JUDA, he quickly finds out the truth behind their enemy, and how closely these aliens are connected to Linebarrel and Emi.

When I announced that I would be reviewing Linebarrels of Iron over Twitter, I could hear the collective groans of everyone following me. Clearly this was not a very popular series. So while I did not particularly find it to be the worst thing I have ever seen, it sure did not win me over in these first 13 episode.


Anime Review: Spice and Wolf

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Set in a fictionalized old European world, Spice and Wolf tells the story of Holo, a pagan wolf goddess who has helped a small village harvest a plentiful wheat crop year after year. But the townsfolk started to get tired of the goddess and accuse her of slacking off, so she escapes from the fields and stows away on the cart of a traveling merchant named Lawrence.

Upon discovering the fox girl sleeping buck naked in his cart, Lawrence offers her a job as his partner in trade. The two begin traveling from village to village peddling goods. Holo keeps her identity hidden from others while Lawrence teaches her his craft. All the while they must deal with rival merchants, currency conversions, dangerous animals, and that blasted Christian church!

I think it’s safe to say that the hype around Spice and Wolf has been pretty big lately, especially since Yen Press just released the light novel this series was based off of. But after seeing all 13 episodes of the first anime series, I really found it hard to see what all the hype has been about.


Anime Review: El Cazador de la Bruja

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Set in a wild west Mexican world, El Cazador de la Bruja tells the story of Nadie, a feisty, scantily-clad female bounty hunter who is a pro with a pistol. She ends up with more than she bargains for when she pursues Ellis, a timid little girl with a bounty on her head. After discovering that innocent Ellis has no memory of her past, and that she has super telekinetic powers, Nadie takes a sisterly liking to the girl. She gives up her pursuit for the bounty, and the two begin an epic adventure down south to find out the truth about Ellis and her mysterious powers.

El Cazador is the final entry into the “Girls with Guns” trilogy of anime series from studio Bee Train, right after Noir and Madlax. I have never seen Madlax, but Noir was one of my favorite series when I first got into anime many years ago.

With FUNimation releasing both halves of El Cazador (Part 1 and Part 2) on the same day this week, I got a chance to marathon the entire series last weekend. While I was initially disappointed that this wild west incarnation of Noir didn’t live up to the greatness of its predecessor, it eventually won me over as being a great series on its own merits.