Anime

Four sites for an Anime Enthusiast.

There are four sites I find are crucial to the anime enthusiasts bookmark page.  If you dont have these favorited then you should favorite them now!  These sites help with all of your anime needs from managing your watch lists, to staying up to date with new series.

http://myanimelist.net - The most important site in my arsenal.  This site has everything you need from forums of like minded enthusiasts, series recommendations, posts and reviews by peers and professionals, and the feature I use most to log your anime completions.  Never again will you go, where did I leave off on this series, or have I watched that anime yet?  Nope, simply log your completions as you finish and you will always know where you are at, and can brag to your friends about how many days of anime you have seen.

http://animeseriesonline.com - Watch all of your favorite animes here, and you will not be disappointed.  This site features good stream speeds with little to no buffering, very few annoying pop ups or advertisements, and you can either search by a-z list or by most recently updated.  The best part is yet to come…the newer animes are able to be streamed to your iPhone or iPad without patches, updates, or crappily written apps.  Needless to say I watch most of my anime here now even if I am on my computer as it is just a clean and easy to use site.

http://countdown.mandragon.info - This site was a godsend when I found it.  Simply open the page and see a tiled list of currently running animes seperated by days of the week they release episodes, a time countdown to its release of the next episode complete with number of next episode, and a picture of the anime w/ some descriptions.  It is a great way to keep track of what new series are out and when they will be available.  Even as an english speaking american, wait a day or two, then search for your sub and your up to date.  I highly recommend this site so you can keep current on all anime series. 

http://twitter.com - Though this last one may seem odd it is a great way to link up with other anime enthusiasts, after all twitter is all about who you follow; follow the right people and twitter will open up your anime knowledge and experience.  You can even start by adding me there @GameJok3r.

This is not a complete list of sites to use by any means, but it is probably the four sites I use, and recommend the most.  Enjoy and add these to your favorites if you are not using them already.


Nazo No Kanojo X (Mysterious Girlfriend X)

Nazo no Kanojo X most memorable feature was its odd fetish romance between Urabe and Tsubaki, this fact is in my opinion why it is an average anime.

The series did not seem to follow the character progression as typical of most romance anime but instead in the odd ritual which the two engage in daily. I found myself missing the “something” the “red thread” or the realization of feelings that hit the hearts of the audience so well in other series, and instead found myself growing tired of the pair and wishing their romance was more typical rather than odd.

The characters and plot centralized around Urabe and Tsubaki, few other characters were added for support or balance. The other characters that were added were generic and linear and were never given a chance to connect with the audience in a support role or any other form as their time was little, and their progression lacking. The plot itself seemed to follow on the odd ritual they experienced and focus on that. This focus I felt deducted from the rest of the anime as there could have been time better spent in building support characters, or progressing the feelings of the characters in a way to better reach the audience.

The art was amazing. This anime excelled in this one department very well as the characters and scenary came to life in brilliant colors and sounds. I would be hard pressed to find another anime with such bright and lifelike backgrounds as were found in Nazo no Kanojo X. The only artistic drawback that I saw or felt I should say was the eyes of the characters seemed to lack emotion and life.

I would say that the anime focused to much on the odd ritual of saliva interchange between the two characters and could of better used the time spent on these many occurances, often 2-3 per episode, and instead used the time more wisely on the surrounding cast and the relationship of the two itself. Because of this it felt the last 3 episodes were rushed and those episodes alone draw you more into the romance and the story itself than any other.

I rate this anime a 5/10 souly because of the art, the last 3 episodes, and I did watch it all the way through so it was somewhat entertaining.

@gamejok3r


Harem anime

I was recently confronted by a friend of mine about some of my recommended animes stating a distasteful harem quality to some of them. I was at first taken a back as I questioned his feelings on the matter it became clear that he viewed the harem concept as distasteful. To counter this remark we first need to examine his remark by dissecting the word distasteful.

Distasteful is simply in the eyes of the beholder but would imply showing racy, tabu, or even defying cultural normalcies in the medium of anime or television in general for that matter the Websters Dictionary says, “objectionable because in poor taste, inappropriate, or unethical.” so what does this very personal term have to do with anime? I am going to go out on a limb and guess that most peoples distaste would derive from 3 items: age, dress and content.

Social laws and mentality of the current age places womandom at the age of 18 (most places). Due to animes of harem type being set in a usual high school setting or age range it is only natural a majority of persons depicted would therefore be under the age of 18. Due to the leas being in same age range, typically, this does not cause a problem of legality within the anime but instead without. As a typical male mid to late 20s eye ogles the teen girls in there Loli or tsundere outfits drooling at the sight of their sneak a peak panty shots the question of morality arises deep within the brain of the watcher before convincing oneself that it is merely an anime and burying deep within the dark recesses of ones mind.

As quickly touched on above dress would be the next statement that one could use to argue distaste. Not counting the great treat of half naked costumed poses shown half way through each episode of nearly every harem type anime the girls typically dress racy. This is to allow optimum panty shots as well as draw and audience for each character to create a good inter harem competition for the heart of the anime lead. Of course this line to tread is thin and often animes go a little far but this is all in the eye of the beholder what is good and decent and too far and indecent.

Lastly but not leastly would be content. Though age could be in this category I would have to say more of large age gaps between intimate parties, incestial relationships, or excessive nudity. This category would of course be entirely based on a persons threshold of indecency or morality level as “excessive” is a term labeled by the user and not always the masses.

My conclusion is that if my recommendations are thought to be indecent then that is your own thought obviously I like what I like and if there is a problem with it then shove it and keep it to yourself. Obviously we have different tastes on anime so don’t come to me for future advice. With all the types, categories and anime series out there I think it is best to experience on your own and build your own opinion of anime in whole rather than to rely solely on the recommendations of others as you may not venture of the mundane path of the standard mainstream animes and into the vaste deep world that is anime. Embrace your inner Otaku and join us on our journey of anime discovery :)


Hyouka

This season brings a great mystery, slice of life, suspense anime with Hyouka.  Hyouka revolves around Houtarou, a high school student, who lives by his own motto of conserving his energy.  This conservation includes everything from school and clubs to sports and chores.  Until one day he gets a mysterious letter from his sister asking him to save the dying Classics Club with which he was a member.  There he meets Chitanda who entices him to use a strange gift he has to solve mysteries which unfold around them and their club activities.

I was relunctant to watch this series based on the name, and description I read elsewhere.  However, once I started watching I have not been able to stop.  The laid back attitude of Houtarou and his ability to piece together unique mysteries keeps you interested in the short term, all while the character progression of each character in the Classics Club keeps your attention for the whole series so far.

The characters themselves are each unique and at one point they even compare themselves to tarrot cards.  Houtarou is The Strength,  the adorable Chitanda is the fool, the database Fukube is The Magician, and the gorgeous Ibara is The Justice.  Each has their own role to this story and their interactions together show this throughout the episodes as their personalities clash but they still have respect for each in their own right.

I can not wait to see how Houtarou changes and with each change his outlook on life and perhaps eventually even his motto he lives by will change as well.

@gamejok3r 


Fate/Stay Night

Story:

When Shirou was young he lost his parents in a large and unexplained fire, however he was spared and rescued by a magus (a person capable of doing magic) named kiritsugu Emiya.  Through conversations with kiritsugu, shirou, learns that his foster father wished to be a “hero of justice” a guardian of mankind who could protect the weak and innocent.  Shirou, touched by his foster fathers ambitions pleads to learn magecraft, however Shirou proves to be inept at nearly all fundamental magecraft disciplines.

One day Shirou witnesses a conflict between two powerful entities.  As the conflict begins to obsorb him he falls into danger and in an attempt to protect himself he accidentally summons  a protector of his own and finds himself to now be part of a conflict known as the “Holy Grail War”.  This war invovles a series of battles amongh magi and servants (strong fighting entities).

As shirou and his servant fights through this conflict he also struggles with his own person battle to uphold his own ideals.  Along this path he also finds himself.

Review:

Characters (5):  This series does a great job setting up the personalities and abilities of each character, whether they be servents, heros, or just side characters.  As the story goes on you not only see the protagonist grow, but you also see the side characters grow as well.  This growth is not limited to merely their abilities but also to their relationships, and emotions.  The progression of each character is done in such a way that it feels natural and you easily connect with each character and their personalities and you find yourself rooting for them despite their alignment with the protagonist.

Plot (5):  The plot is interesting and as you get swept up in the action, dialogue and characters you find yourself waiting for the next twist and turn.  It is a unique story and its execution is excellent, just sit back, relax and watch as it unfolds.

Art (4.5):  I am an artwork enthusiast and felt that the anime style portrayed in this series was above average.  Though you will not see the beautiful scenes like those in some romantic animes, I felt the art was great for an action anime.  The lines are clean, characters are expresssive, backgrounds are well contrived, and the action scenes are easy to follow.  Unlike some action series which hides movements by means that I call “speed of eye” (a concept in which the movement is allegedly faster than the eye can see so the movement is not shown) this anime follows the motions fully as the seamless full body fighting is shown in its entirety.  As previously mentioned the only lacking this anime had was in soft scenes where details like falling flower petals, blades of grass, trees swaying in the wind, or a night sky could have contained more detail and shading.

Overall (5):  I fully enjoyed this whole series and it is my favorite anime I have watched to date.  I highly recommend this anime to ANYONE, and if you are looking for a nice short length series as an introduction to anime, you will not be disappointed in it!!

Rating: 19.5 / 20


No. 6

This anime focuses on a futuristic society in which absolute conformity is demanded.  While the city and those in powers deal lies to the masses and control everything from populace movements to information what happens when questions arise?  In this series it follows the story of a boy who makes decisions on his own and searches his heart and thoughts to arrive to his own conclusions and answers.  What turmoil will he go through as he bridges the gap between reality and false projections?  Will he be able to stand his ground despite the difficult paths ahead?

I for one can not wait to find out all of the answers.  So far this series is deep in plot, dark in art and story, and uplifting as the hearts of the masses are revealed through their stories and eyes.  Each episode is like pealing back the constraints and lies of the society they live in as the lies unfold what will be left at its center?

My projection is that though the society lies and tampers with information to only allow the society access to certain documents that there is a greater truth burried beneath and it is actually for the own good of its people in an oppressive way.  The lead character along with his friends will have to determine if going along with how the society was “protecting” its people is actually better than revealing the truth and changing the course of time.


Dantalian No Shoka

The grandson of a rare book collector inherits his collection upon his grandfathers death.  He soon discovers that it was not only rare books were being collected but mysterious books which are contained secretely and sealed away to protect mankind.   It is now up to this grandson to use Dantalian gateway and use the powers contained within these books to seal away other such books and save others.

In this series the dark art and mild gore matches the tone of the dialouge and script perfectly.  It blurs the worlds of action, folklore, mystery, horrer, and fantasy into one seamless series.  At first glance I felt a similarity to the Gosick series, however as this series progresses forward I cant help but be drawn more and more into this magical world and immerse myself in the series.  I look forward to the rest of the season and hope to not see the series become repetitive or boring.


R-15

Overview

Insperation Academy Private High School is private high school for geniuses.  The geniuses all come from different fields and are given the ability to study in their specialty fields, even a pornographic novelist.  Taketo Akutagawa is a young porno novelist deemed to be a genius in the field, and as such he is enrolled into Insperation Academy.  His story of love is filled with misconceptions and misunderstandings based on his field, how will he deal with his new high school life?

Review

R-15 is pretty much an average if not slightly under average slice of life, school life, anime series which only excels in bringing a new level of Ecchi.  The art is decent, characters are okay, story basically non-existant at times or quite weak.  I typically at this point would go into more details about the series but that really about sums up this series unfortunately.  I highly doubt that I will recommend this series, unless someone is really looking for some Ecchi school girl anime.

Rating 4/10

Posted by @GameJok3r 


Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

Overview

Americas unslightly underworld is host to handfulls of assassins, the best of which they call Phantom.  Phantom is created by erasing the memories of those who show characteristics, or traits, that are necessary skills for becoming the top assassin.  By erasing their memories the assassins are then able to transcend a normal humans ability to block out emotions and follow through with any plan.

Ein is Phantom, and by fate she meets someone with those characteristics that are looked for.  Her new project goes through brainwashing and training and is eventually given the name Zwei.  Zwei and Ein work together as a phantom assassin team and as they do they continually get caught up in the power struggles within their organization.

 

Review

Phantom: Requim for the Phantom is an emotional and action packed roller coaster ride which keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the series.  Depicting the unsightly underbelly of the American Mafia and following the story of two assassins which work for them this anime depicts some strong emotions from rage to love and everything in between.  The great plot keeps you thinking while the art and characters gives a grasp of realism to the world depicted in the story.

The plot deals with a wide variety of subjects but integrates them together neatly and never feels rushed or forced.  There is a constant undercurrent constantly moving the story forward all while small story lines are finishing at the surface which keeps you waiting for the next episode.  The anime keeps you guessing and does a great job drawing you into the story throughout as the action, deception, and depth constantly crescendos to the finale.

The art on the series has great depth down to the small details, the backgrounds and the scenaries.  As you watch the anime you feel at times as if you are seeing from the eyes of the specialy trained assassins, constantly scanning the surroundings and picking up small objects and information that comes into play later.  The characters are also well drawn, and the physics are portrayed evenly throughout the scenes.

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

The characters are balanced, well written, and progress throughout the series.  As the plot moves the characters grow with the constantly moving plot.  Though often showing a facade on the surface typically, this is what the series seems to be deep rooted in, that nothing is surface deep.  The characters are each peeled back slowly revealing their true natures, wants, desires, and then once they are all used up they realize their mistakes, but maybe not always in time.

All aspects of this series was great, and the entertainment value was through the roof, however for me, the last 30 seconds of the final episode almost ruins it.  Though it seems to be a foreshadowed event, it was just not my cup of tea.  I would still HIGHLY recommend this series, and even have it on my watch again list.

Rating 9/10

Posted by @GameJok3r


Xam’d: Lost Memories

Xam'd Lost Memories

Overview

Akiyuki Takehara is a high school boy, whose biggest problems are his seperated parents, and his constant tardiness.  One day as he is, as usual, running late for the bus he comes in contact with a strange white haired girl who is trying to get onto the bus to the main city on Sentain Island.  Akiyuki helps the girl get on the bus, however it was that decision which would change his life forever.  Unknowingly to Akiyuki the girl detonates a strange devise and bestows a power upon him which is unlike anything else.  Unable to come to terms with this power, and loosing himself in the process Akiyuki has to find his new path in life as an Xam’d.

 

Review

Xam’d: Lost Memories is a compelling story which engroses the watcher in a constant barrage of science fiction, war, romance, and drama.  Though a large aray of elements present the series does an exquisit job of seemlessly blending them together for a Very Good series, however in my opinion not magnificent.

The plot is steady and constantly adjusting as the series progresses.  As the hero becomes more aware of what Xam’d is his journey in life begins to change, and you are dragged along for the action packed ride.  I felt that the writing and the directing were marvelously done allowing the watcher to become fully emersed in this great story.

Xam'd Lost Memories Spread

The art was craftly exquisite from the futuristic sci fi vehicles, to the transformations, from the action packed fighting sequences, to the beautiful scenery and lighting.  I would have to say that it was graphically astounding from an anime standpoint.  I would of like to have seen a little bit of originality from the artist, though this being a more action, drama, romance series it probably would of felt a bit out of place so in this instance I think the artists went the right direction.

The characters were each unique and never lost themselves or their characters.  Each character was well written and played key roles in the unfolding of the mysteries of the Xam’d, and as Akiyuki progresses forward in his journey so does everyone else along with him in their own ways.  I do have to say however that in the english sub version their were a few characters that were very hard to even listen to as they acted out their lines, the emotion in their voices often not matching the feel of the scene or just general poor delivery of lines.

I was very entertained by this series and as mentioned above it performed very well by my main tenants of judging anime.  I would also like to say that the opening credits song must be one of, if not THE, best that I have come across so far.  Despite some few misses with me, that being, originality of artwork and poor voice overs, I still rate this very high.

Score: 8/10

Posted by @GameJok3r


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