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Aishiteruze Baby (TV) Excellent Yuzuyu is simiply the most adorable anime character I've ever seen in my life. The story is heartwarming and believable (at most times). Animation is bright and vivid, giving the entire series a optimistic tone. Casting Miyu Tsuzurahara as Yuzuyu was a very smart choice, and other voice actors (most of them are rather newbies in voice acting) had solid performance as well. Story:9 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Millennium Actress (movie) Masterpiece You'll feel totally drawn into the movie and *be there* with the actress, the director and his cameraman. The final lament by Chiyoko was quite a shock, but once you ponder it you'll totally agree. Story:10 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Scrapped Princess (TV) Excellent You thought it's a 'sword & sorcery' adventure, but turned out to be a science fiction in the end; very nice plot twists. This anime reminds us how easily can people be manipulated by finding a scapegoat to blame for misfortune -- just like what Hitler did to Jews and how common German citizens being so easily persuaded by what we consider as nonsense today. However, Pacifica falls for the same culprit in ep. 7 when she began to accuse Sim/Shiizu for her misfortune -- just like watching Israelis and Palestinians today. A bit too similar to "Matrix", though. For modern-day weapon lovers, pay close attention to person's, nation's, and horse's (!) names -- numerous puns. ^_^ Story:9 Art:9 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Haibane Renmei (TV) Masterpiece Yoshitoshi ABe always surprises his audience with unorthodox production. It's very difficult to have any comment to be written on paper after watching Haibane Renmei; the story gives you mixed feelings yet warms your heart when you see the growth of Rakka and Reki. It should be noted that the plot of "angels" and "sinners" is more readily to be comprehended by Western than Japanese audience; thinking suicide as a sin is a Chirstian concept, as opposed to Japanese culture, which in many occasions considers commiting suicide is a way to uphold honor. EDIT: I gave it an "excellent" right after the first finishing, but after watching it a few times more I changed it to "masterpiece." This is a title which you'd enjoy more by rewatching. Story:10 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:10 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (many obscure metaphors) Culture-Barrier:Reversed (sinful suicide)
Step Up Love Story (OAV) Very good Wow, what a solid cast list. Usually first tier seiyuus do not play for H stuff (at least not under their real names -- pseudonames instead), but Futari Ecchi features Tomoko Kawakami (Sugar, Rosette Christopher) and Yuji Ueda (Keitarou Urashima, Sanosuke Sagara), both high-profile seiyuus. I don't mind about Yuji Ueda; after all, his performance as Keitarou Urashima was ecchi enough. Watching Yura Onoda moaning with Sugar/Rosette's voice, well, it's something *very* different. In its fourth episode it addressed an important issue about jobs for married women in the eyes of their husband in Japan. Married Japanese women has the lowest employment rate in developed countries (18%). To respect the right of having a good job after marriage is not a common sense among Japanese men. Fortunately both Makoto and Yura took one step back and reached a happy agreement. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Ocean Waves (special) Very good Why was I in a all-boy high school?! (sigh) Story:7 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan (TV) Good While with fluid animation, good voice acting, and really funny music, the formulaic story gets old faster than expected -- like the death of Kenny of South Park. Story:6 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Boku wa Imōto ni Koi o Suru: Secret Sweethearts - Kono Koi wa Himitsu (OAV) Very good What a long title. I'm always interested in forbidden love topics. Kotomi Aoki has a distinctive artstyle; even among shoujo artists, her style is quite unique, and unlike most shoujo artists it's rather hard to find other manga-ka with similar style: female protagonists who have baby fat, chubby faces. As an introduction of her manga (and possible live-action drama), it did its job pretty well, attracting an "outsider" like me to the world of Kotomi Aoki. Too bad that the color designation was way too bright with high gamma, and many details were lost. Violin music fits the mood perfectly well, and voice acting was equally good. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:6 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Mahou Sensei Negima! (special) Decent Well, it's an introduction, so don't expect any decent story. Because I've read Negima manga, I already know all about it. The intro emphasize on "Baka Rangers" and omit most other girls, including Konoka Konoe and Setsuna Sakurazaki, who play vital roles in manga, and the rushing scene every morning was totally omitted. Animation suffers from similar problem of Love Hina: girls gain weight and have rounder faces. Story:5 Art:6 Animation:6 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:4 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
Mezzo Forte (OAV) Good Unlike Yasuomi Umetsu's previous work, "Kite," "Mezzo Forte" is much more light-hearted and with lots of comic reliefs. However, this doesn't mean a shallow story. In fact, there are so many plot twists keep surprising you. Watch out for two hentai scenes; I don't think those are as important for plot development as in "Kite" and could have been less explicit. Looking forward for its TV releases. Story:7 Art:9 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Stratos 4 (OAV) Very good Unlike most sequel OVAs which simply milk the cow for more profit, Stratos4 managed to include deeper story and hidden plots, paving way for the next (longer) OVA sequels, Stratos4 Advance. It's darker than the original series and makes me want to watch Stratos4 Advance, which is exactly its purpose. The animation is even better than the original, and the omake Code:XXX is hilarious. Story:7 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Tokyo Godfathers (movie) Excellent Unbelievably funny, joyful and moving. This film described the darker side of the city of Tokyo, and everything feels so realistic. However, at some point it seems to be hard to comprehend, like Miyuki stabbed her father and then escaped from home just because her cat was missing. All and all this is one of the funniest yet most thought-provoking anime film. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Crest of the Stars (TV) Very good To my surprise, the entire scope of the 13-episode story is quite short: the arc covers only about one Terran week or so, but with so many things happen within such a short time, it is inevitable that the two leads would fall in love with each other. The creation of spoken Abh language is a bit unnecessary. After all, this is not as established as Klingon in Star Trek. Animation wise, it's good to see space fleet battle (which is rather rare in anime; most are fighter/mecha battles), but the mechanical design could be more refined. Ayako Kawasumi as Lafiel is as brilliant as usual. The opening music has a very strong Trek feeling, with a bit Japanese blend. It is evident that Seikai Trilogy were heavily influenced by Star Trek. Story:8 Art:6 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Appleseed (OAV) Good To be honest, I was slightly disappointed after watching this OVA, especially after people praising this first adaptation over the new movie. Although the animation was dated (I already took it into consideration), the major reason for this disappointment was the SCALE of the story. The OVA is simply about a disgruntled cop-turned-terrorist, and the significance of bioroids was almost omitted. So is Hitomi's role. Post-WW3 weapons used by ESWAT were designed in late 1970s; I don't know whether Masamune Shirow drew them as our contemporaty weapons, but I'm sure the mechanical designer was too lazy to design new sets. Voice actings were fine, though. Story:6 Art:7 Animation:6 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Azumanga Web Daioh (ONA) Good To be honest, I don't quite get the idea for why making this web movie. It's whacky and hilarious, however. Story:7 Art:6 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Sakura Taisen: Le Nouveau Paris (OAV) Decent To be honest, I can't see the purpose of this three-episode OVA. Although the animation and music is well above average, the story is rather vague, and the entire story lacks a continuous plot. It's kinda sad to see one of my favorite series ends in this way. However, since the 5th installment of the game has a setting in the Wild West, we might be able to see more (and better) story coming. Story:4 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:4 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Shadow Star Narutaru (TV) Very good This title is like a combination of Elfen Lied and Paranoia Agent (especially in eps 11-13). The story is very good in a dark and eerie manner, but there are way too many unexplained issues. Legs are way too thin for an atheletic girl like Shiina; exotic music added the appropriate atmosphere. The most important lesson from this anime: never underestimate how sinister children can be. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:6 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:High (be prepared) Culture-Barrier:Medium
Air In Summer (special) Very good This summer special emphasized the comical part in the journey searching Kanna's mother and neglected the heavy material. A bit disappointing. It supplemented the interaction between Ryuya and Kanna not presented in the TV series, but not much more. The good part is the funny story, especially Kanna's facial expressions. The other aspects were the same as the TV series. Story:6 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Elfen Lied (OAV) Very good This special episode solves the greatest mystery: how Lucy was captured in the first place. The comic relief by Nana and (unexpectedly) Bandou was very funny, but they didn't add much to the story. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Di Gi Charat Ohanami Special Good This one has above-average story compared to other Di Gi Charat franchise. We saw how cunning Dejiko can be, how gentle and shy Usada is, and the incredibly kawaii Puchiko! Story:7 Art:6 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Princess Mononoke (movie) Masterpiece This is what Miyazaki-san truly wants to represent in manga version of Nausicaa. A true masterpiece. Story:10 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:9 Music:10 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (no right or wrong, just to survive) Culture-Barrier:High (Japanese history and mythology)
Other Worlds (movie) Very good This is THE shortest anime I've ever watched. Although there's very little plot and no dialogue at all, the short story shows the intimate and intricate relationship between the two. Many elements can be seen in later works by Makoto Shinkai. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:6 Voice:N/A Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Sister Princess: Re Pure (TV) Decent This is the most difficult anime for me to review! The reason? Diverging quality of all aspects among episodes! First of all, all but the final episode are splitted into two parts; the first part is just like most anime, but the second part is diary-like monologue with no character interaction at all. Some episodes are touching while some are total crap; some background art is beautiful while others are monotonous; 3D CGI (water effects in particular) are excellent but motions of violinists are laughable. Hinako and Aria appear much older than they really are (5 years), not to mention that Aria has the most annoying voice ever. However, music by late Ritsuko Okazaki are all good. Hard to imagine that she could compose different ED for each episode! Thanks to brilliant performances by Chikage and Sakuya, the two most mature girls, lest this series should become unwatchable. Story:2-7 Art:3-7 Animation:4-8 Voice:2-6 Music:8 Tilt:2-7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
Ah! My Goddess (TV) Very good This is the fourth attempt to adapt Ah! My Goddess, and what they have done is much better. The story follows closely to manga (hence better), but there are one big flaw: the ultra-slow beginning. Most viewers have at least read or watched either manga or any of the three previous anime titles, so why would it start so slowly? The good news is, it has one of the best ending for an anime adapted from unfinished manga. CGI is beautiful, but 2-D foreground animation is not as good as previous ones, probably due to lower budget per episode, and Belldandy's facial features are distorted. The voice acting of the original cast ("Goddess Family Club") is still top-notched; music is good but not particularly memorable. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Psychic Academy (ONA) Decent This is the first time for me to watch 10-min per episode. It contains only the very beginning of the manga version, though. Story:5 Art:6 Animation:7 Voice:7 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Yamibo - Darkness, the Hat, and the Travelers of the Books (TV) Very good This is something would receive divergent response: you either love it or hate it. It gives very, very little background in the beginning, and the plot line is jumping from here and there. However, if you don't get confused, tired, or annoyed due to bewildering storyline, plotlines will merge together in later episodes, some of them are very melancholic. Overall, despite of lesbianism and fan service, the story has a shocking resemblance to the highly acclaimed Hi no Tori -- protagonists traveling through different time and space, preaching the importance of life and love -- something you don't expect from an H-game adapted anime. Story:6 Art:6 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Saint Seiya Tenkai-hen (movie) So-so This is made for dedicated fans who have watched the Hades Chapter, in anime AND manga. The story ended abruptly, not to mention the lack of introduction to first time watchers. Shiryuu and Hyoga continued to whine for "Seiya" endlessly and annoyingly. However, the art and animation were quite well done, with very stylish design of "heaven" and vibrant and fluidic animation. Story:3 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:6 Music:5 Tilt:3 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Koi Kaze (TV) Excellent This anime breaks a new ground for taboo topics. Unlike "traditional" brother/sister complex anime/manga, such as "Sister Princess," which contains lots of fan service and unrealistic story, KoiKaze contains no fan service at all, and it is very likely to happen around us, if not on us. Watching Koushirou being torn apart by the dillemma of his passion and reasoning is very *cough* interesting *cough*, but at the same time it makes you ponder, "what should I do, or what CAN I do, if this story happens on me?" However, due to TV regulations the anime version could not translate the manga faithfully as the topic is way too controversial, thus the ending is a bit inconclusive. Koushirou's voice is superb, but Nanoca and her classmates are not as good. The music makes you feel the time has been slowed down, willingly. Story:9 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Love Hina Spring Special - I Wish Your Dream Decent There's not enough role for Nyamo, Shinobu's "twin." They should address more about her role and her subtle affection toward Keitaro. Story:5 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Maria Watches Over Us (TV) Excellent There's no action, no magic, no mecha, no technobabble, no skinny dress, even no male protagonist, nadda. All you have is a delicate story about the sensitive hearts of teenage maidens in an all-girl high school. Everything is so beautiful, so elegant, so gentle, so yasashii, and so kawaii. As myself was graduated from an all-male high school, I was always wondering why and how the pseudo-lesbianism within all-girl schools would happen so naturally (you just can't imagine a straight boy sending cards and/or chocolate to another boy, but it seems to be perfectly normal among girls). Before I have heard of it I guessed the OP music would be 3/4 in F major; I was correct! It sounds elegantly, while the ED theme in c/E- with saxophone is a bit nostalgic. Story:9 Art:9 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
RahXephon (OAV) Good The voice acting of Houko Kuwashima is fantastic. Basically this show is performed by her and only her. However, although the story explains one more mystery of the complex relationships among RahXephon characters, it contains only the dialogue within Quon's heart, making fans feel like milking the cow for easy money while casual watchers know nothing about what she's talking about. Story:6 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:10 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:High Culture-Barrier:Low
(The) Adventures of Mini-Goddess (TV) Good The success of OVA made this series. Some of the episodes are very funny, but some of them (especially in later episodes) has no story whatsoever. Maybe script writers had run out of ideas. The character design is one of the cutest ever created, coupled with excellent voice acting by the original cast. The animation, however, is not as good, but decent animation is not a must have for a comedic story like this one. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:5 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Appleseed (movie) Excellent The story is quite good (albeit a bit predictable), the voice acting and music are solid, yet nothing can compare with the background art of the city of Olympus. This is the greatest artistic achievement in animation history. I wornder how long it took for background artists to design and draw it out. A visual feast. Near the end, Deunan's word to the Elders reminded me what Nausicaa said to the Master of the Tomb. Story:8 Art:10+ Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Voices of a Distant Star (OAV) Excellent The story echoes in everyone who has or is having a long distance relationship. For most of us in the real world, the separation is only spatial -- we never think about the temporal separation caused by such great distances, especially when cell phone and instant messenger are part of our daily life. However, in the year of 2047 and warp speed space travel, why can't they communicate with subspace radio?! Apparently Shinkai-san is not a Trekker. Moreover, the cell phone design is completely 2001-2002 -- even now we have all cell phones in Japan equipped with camera and full color screen, and slim-film monitor is on the horizon; there's no reason that people at 2047 are still using a cell phone like that. Another great achievement of this OAV is animation; hard to believe this is another one-man work like 'She and Her Cat'. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (cell phone culture)
Iria - Zeiram the Animation (OAV) Good The story attempted to create something big, yet its attempt was not successful. The ending was abrupt, and many mini-plots remain unresolved, like Bob's digitization. It might be able to have a better story for a single-season TV series (12-14 episodes). The art design is very unorthodox for a sci-fi title, for most objects are southeastern Chinese styled, including bamboo cannon. Masakazu Katsura is always good at drawing beautiful girls; too bad we don't see girls other than Iria. The animation is quite nice in mid-90's, but only about on par with Ghibli's movies in 80's. Iria's voice by Aya Hisakawa is an excellent cast which matches her personality perfectly, but it's almost typecasted. Nothing special about music. Hard to believe the OP composer is the same one as MariMite's . Story:6 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:5 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Ah! My Goddess: The Movie Excellent The music, voice acting and animation are among the best I have ever seen (with Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.) Story is novel and much more intense than OAV. Although this is a movie, it is intended for manga readers since characters like Peroth were not introduced either in OAV or in this movie; only manga readers could recognize her. Furthermore, if the viewer has no idea of Nordic mythology it could be very difficult to understand. One of the funny thing is that Celestine and the Yggdrasil-chopping monster look just like Ichiro Oogami and transformed Brent Furlong in Sakura Wars: The Movie, respectively. I'd say Sakura Wars: The Movie copied the design since it was premiered a year later. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:10 Music:10 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:High (knowledge of Nordic mythology required) Culture-Barrier:Low
RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio (movie) Very good The movie tried to squeeze the entire TV series within two hours. The beginning gave us who have watched the series a much detailed background information about how Tokyo Jupiter was formed. Episode 1 and 2 took 1/4 of the movie, left little time for mecha fighting scenes but added more interaction between Ayato and Haruka *cough*, which is a good thing. Another emphasis was on Hiroko Asahina, one of the most memorable moment in the series. However, I still don't think anyone who had no previous experience of TV series could enjoy the movie very much. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Air (movie) So-so The movie script was totally rewritten, and many important side characters were deleted. The "small" town is way too crowded and contains too many shinto icons -- remember Misuzu's high school is Christian. These are very unnerving but forgivable. However, the fact that characters' personalities strayed too much from the original (e.g. Haruko) really annoys me. Worse yet, I couldn't believe the animation was done by Toei Animation, the biggest and oldest animation company with spectacular history. Shapes are inconsistant from one scene to another, and outlining is way too thick. The worst case was a shot where Misuzu approaches Yukito's face: using 3-points perspective common in comedies but never before seen in drama. Although the movie casted Hikaru Midorikawa (Yukito in the PS2 version of Air) as the main character, his voice is too old for Yukito; Daisuke Ono (of TV version) is better. Finally, the lacking of many background music at key moments (Natsukage!!!) ruined everything. The biggest disappointment in 2005. Story:6 Art:6 Animation:3 Voice:6 Music:5 Tilt:3 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Kogepan (TV) Decent The idea is novel and the story touched how imperfect people should accept oneself and how to interact with those who surround you -- very touchy-feely. However I was annoyed by the narrator; his role should be reduced and let the characters perform. Fumiko Orikasa's role as Strawberry reminds me her role as Chise in SaiKano. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:4 Voice:6 Music:7 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
SaiKano: Another Love Song (OAV) Very good The focus was neither on Shuuji (who didn't even appear) or Chise, but on Major Mizuki, an original character for this OVA. Her design was quite odd; a compromise to keep the art style of Shin Takahashi yet trying to invest some new elements. Story-wise, I can feel the deep grief in Mizuki's heart, yet other parts of the story were not strong enough. As a prequel of SaiKano, how could Chise destroy the base of operation so early? This didn't make any sense. Animation was even better than those of the original, but not to the top notch. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Rozen Maiden (TV) Very good The first impression from the OP is: am I watching Noir? Turned out that the OP is composed and performed no other than Mikiya Katakura and Ali Project, respectively, which is the same as Noir's OP. The beginning of the story is quite confusing, for it explains nothing about why Jun stays at home and why Rozen Maidens have to fight against each other. Those questions are answered quite late in the series (episode 10 and after) and that would make an impatient watcher to abandon watching. However, the last three episodes answered them all. The design of dolls are simply beautiful and adorable, particularly when Shinku is carried by Jun. Animation was done well, with vivid 2-D images and fluid movements. The 'between commercials' music has a distinctive Baroque style, but one insert music bears strong resemblance to Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Noir (TV) Good The entire plot line is quite good, but it fails on direction. There are way too many flashback scene, particularly in the beginning of the series, where we have no idea about Mireille's background. Flashback sequences consumed too much time in earlier episodes and have become filler-like. Furthermore, there's no single light-hearted moment in the entire story, and although this can work for a movie or a short OVA, a 26-episodes TV series with such a gloomy mood is unnerving. The skills of main characters are beyond reality, for they can't be beaten by automatic weapons, and Chloe's throwing knives are way too powerful. However, the background scenery are quite beautiful, and I was surprised to Chloe's voice -- totally different from what you'd expect. The music is okay but nothing special. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Rumbling Hearts (TV) Good The ending was not as bad as rumored and the plot twist on episode 2 was novel, although the author(s) apparently lack proper medical knowledge. However, I'm kinda tired of those lead males who just wants to please everyone, which is impossible. This type of male lead can never make up his mind and always covers his lies by making bigger lies. When can we have some more mature leads who don't make stupid lies?! Well, maybe when the lead male is not from a harem-styled H-game. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy Summer Special Very good The emphasis of this special is the kawaii-ness of its characters plus a bit of nostalgia. The animation is bright and vivid with subtle but beautiful CG touches. It's amazing for Masumi Asano to differentiate 11-years-old and 15-years old Saga; we can tell it's the same girl, but her voice is more mature and stable for grown-up Saga. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
Don't Tell Mother Maria (special) Very good The best parody I have seen. Even better than the highly acclaimed Azumanga Daioh - The Very Short Movie. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:7 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Castle in the Sky (movie) Masterpiece THE anime to watch if you only watch one anime in your lifetime. Contains all components for a great movie: action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, suspension, relaxation, nostalgia and prospective future, love and hatred, laughter and tears. It's like on an emotional roller coaster. Story:10 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:10 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (movie) Good Sometimes I just don't understand what Mamoru OSHII is thinking. The plot is actually quite simple and straight forward, but he added way too many unnecessary fillers and music video shots in order to make the film feels "deep." The art and animation is the very best in animation history, yet too much efforts were made just to show off the capability of animators. Just don't understand why would them model after Notre Dame of Paris. The parade is very, very Taiwanese, and I bet more than 90% Taiwanese audience could identify the design, while I am really curious who have designed it for Japanese and Western audience who have no clue at all. Story:6 Art:10 Animation:10 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (Taiwanese plus a little Tibetan designs)
Azumanga Daioh - The Very Short Movie Good Simple and funny, but most audience would not know who's who and what's what unless they've read manga in advance. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:5 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Ghost in the Shell (movie) Very good Similar to GUNNM but received much more popularity, GiTS is another great piece of art talking about the reality between the "real" world and cybernetics, while the protagonist pondering about the meaning of her existence. Too bad the story was cut short. The background art is very authentic, particularly the Hong Kong-styled Chinese roadsigns -- they are all correct text, not some kanji gibberish. Animation is one of the best in its time, but the music needs some time to get accustomed. However, ther are some ridiculous tech settings, such as highly mechanized hands to type keyboard like flying -- why not just connect oneself to the computer (either wired or wireless)? That would be much, much more efficient. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Stratos 4 (TV) Very good Set in a near future, Stratos 4 has an intriguing character setting: using pretty girls for a typical shounen plot. Cold-war era aircrafts in early 1960s are great choices; it was a time when the higher and faster, the better. Aircraft designers and test pilots sought for planes with those simple qualities, not fancy avionics or stealthiness. It was the simplicity of perfection stirred up your blood. However, the way they pilot their aircraft is...well, although it's sexier, a pilot would blackout in no time with that "motorcycle rider" position during a rocket-assisted, near-vertical acceleration, and none of those aircrafts were designed for dogfighting. Speaking of sexiness: this title has been criticized for too much fan service, but I think it's fine. What bugged me was the fillers; there are at least three filler episodes. More time should be spent on training and backgrounds. However, one filler worthy mention is the stereotypical hotspring scene. Instead of common fan service, it showed girly chatters quite nicely. The animation is one of the best I've seen; not only that the 3D models are beautiful, but 2D and 3D merged perfectly, even better than most Gonzo titles (in which 3D models stand out too much). Voice and music are good but nothing particularly noteworthy. Story:6 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Memories (movie) Very good See their respective comments instead.
Those Who Hunt Elves 2 (TV) Decent Same as season one, but with less novelty and a strange ending. Story:5 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
(The) Story of Little Monica (OAV) Decent Putting supernatural powers this way wasn't very convincing, and two younger sisters shouldn't be both taking the initiative earlier than their oldest sister. The show was saved from being below average thanks to the nekomimi girl and nice music for a hentai. Story:5 Art:6 Animation:7 Voice:6 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
Love Hina Again (OAV) Good Personally, I like Kanako more than Naru... Story:6 Art:8 Animation:6 Voice:9 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Mao-chan (TV) Decent Perfect time-killer. It would be better if dress-change scene can be reduced in later episodes -- we don't have to watch the full-length version in every episode. CG use is subtle and quite nice. Story:5 Art:6 Animation:8 Voice:7 Music:5 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Only Yesterday (movie) Excellent Pastoral scenery is no nature -- they are even more artificial than cities. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (rural Japan)
Sexfriend (OAV) Good One of the prettiest female lead in hentai titles. She's not only cute but also realistic, something often lost in hentai. The ending is very sensible: it's natural for a man not willing to let his woman (and even himself) to screw around once the romance kicks in. Story:6 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (OAV) Excellent One of the most unflavored anime ever created, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou allows you to slow down and stop to see how precious the world around you is. For busy modern people (city dweller in particular) it makes you ponder "why can't I just slow down and enjoy the peacefulness and the beauty of this world?" Story:9 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (you'd better be old enough) Culture-Barrier:Medium
Steamboy (movie) Good One of the most over-hyped title in recent anime market. Like his "tradition," Katsuhiro Otomo emphasized the untrustworthiness and idiocracy of mankind with science and technology. This is getting old. The stereotyped Ojou-sama, Scarlett O'Hara, behaves ridiculously during the attack demonstrated by the O'Hara foundation, which too has a laughable reason to stage an attack during the Great Exhibition. The movie spends a lot efforts on the mechanical designs and background art, yet it forgets the most important element: story. Furthermore, the voice acting is significantly weaker than average TV anime, not to mention OVA. Story:4 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:5 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Key the Metal Idol (OAV) Very good One of the most controversial plot I've ever seen. The first 13 half-hour episodes are rather hard to swallow, for the pace is slow and there are many unanswered side stories. Yet, all of them were simply paving roads for the last two extra-long episodes. The episode 14 almost rewrite the entire story, but it also solved many hidden plots. However, as a "science fiction" title, there are just too many unreasonable settings. Junko Iwao has an excellent performance as Key's monotonic voice, but other voices are just okay. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:High (hard to understand; many hidden plots) Culture-Barrier:Medium
Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade (movie) Masterpiece One of the heaviest anime story ever produced. Not only one has to question each and every action before making next moves, the thrill and suspension make you never know what step will be the next. The feeling of "trust no one" pumps up your adrenaline. It's by far the only anime title that fits in all three of my custom categories (personal favorites, hunter becomes hunted, and mil-geek heaven). Story:10 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (TV) Masterpiece Okay, where should I start? The story is adapted from one of the greatest novel of human history; characters are designed by Hidenori Matsubara; the animation is produced by GONZO and D.R.Movie. How could it NOT be a masterpiece? Haydée's evening gown in episode six is THE highest achievement of art design in animation history. Period. The voice acting makes the drama even more dramatic. Music is good but not great; probably the only weak point of this title. Story:10 Art:10 Animation:10 Voice:10 Music:7 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
RahXephon (TV) Very good Okay here we are...the newest Evangelion clone, with better story, more likable characters, and no mumblings and Kanji-filled screens by Anno Hideaki. It uses many Aztecan legends, much lesser known than Evangelion's Bible reference. Both Aya Hisakawa and Houko Kuwashima are excellent voice actresses. However I don't like its mecha designs. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Elfen Lied (TV) Excellent Now this is something for blood and gore. The story is basically another heavy-laden "cute girl/assassin" theme more or less like Gunslinger Girl. All main characters have traumatic past, and this is not for faint heart. Overall plotline is quite predictable, but the finale is one of the finest in recent anime. A special mention would be the OP music: it's Bible in Latin! Double-voiced Sanae Kobayashi performed great. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
She and Her Cat (OAV) Very good Nice heartwarming short story from a cat's point of view, especially considering this is an one-man work. The character design of the cat should have more detail, though. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
My Neighbor Totoro (movie) Excellent Need I say more? :) Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Read or Die (OAV) Excellent Nancy's betrayal was a shocking plot twist, and, as a booklover myself, I wish I could meet a girl as knowledgeable and book-loving as Yomiko is (well, maybe not to her extent.) "Guest appearences" of Jean Henri Fabre and Otto Lilienthal are genuine. However, Nancy should reconsider changing her lame codename -- Yes, it's a very, very lame codename which no agent with dignity would ever use it. More stories to come (wondering who this "Nenene" is and why does she leave numerous post-it notes for Yomiko?) in the TV version. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (various historical references) Culture-Barrier:Low
Phoenix (TV) Excellent My 100th anime! Adapted from the greatest work by Osamu Tezuka, the story of Hi no Tori spans millennia after millennia to seek the true reason behind our existence. Animation and music (by Czech Philharmonic Orchestra) are spectacular. The only weak point is putting different chapters into one TV anime, resulting the only link between chapters is Hi no Tori (Phoenix), with little overall plot. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:7 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:High (challenging the very reason for our existence) Culture-Barrier:Medium-High (depending on which episode)
Grave of the Fireflies (movie) Very good More than 90% people cried while watching, but I'm that 10% who didn't. Not because I'm cold-blooded or my grandpa fought against the Japs in WWII, but because while Setsuko's death is a tragedy, Seita's death is stupidity. His own pride indirectly caused the death of Setsuko; as an orphan during war time, no matter how cruel your aunt is, it's much better to persevere, even if you are alone, without a 3-year-old little sister. Moreover, he doesn't help to perform house chores or try to find a job, and he rarely say thanks and sorries to his aunt -- this can soon expire his welcome. All he did was play with Setzuko; he even played the harmonium without permission (it was considered a piece of prized furniture at that time.) As a son of a navy captain, his best bet should be becoming a seaman recruit in navy even he's underaged (there were boys younger than Seita as orderlies and ammo carriers in every major conflicts, even in American Civil War), since soldiers have a higher priority for food and supplies compared with civillians. Seita lost his will for life after Setsuko died; this is pathetic since the war is over and he does not have to take care for Setusko. Setusko would be rather angry for this: Seita had a chance to live on, but he gave up so easily. Other than the story, this anime is one of the best in its time. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
On Your Mark (movie) Excellent Miyazaki-san finally set his poor little girl, who endured countless trials and quests for twelve years, free to the sunny blue sky where she belongs to. Note: viewer should have some knowledge about 'parallel timeline' to comprehend the plot. Story:10 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:N/A Music:8 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (not easy to understand if just watched once) Culture-Barrier:Low
R.O.D -The TV- Excellent Marvelous story, excellent animation and voice acting, with references to classic novels and various biotechnology. If she has less fillers before Yomiko reappeared in ep15 this would be the first TV series I have rated as a masterpiece. Nenene, who has vital roles in the the novel but was totally ignored (except Post-Its) in OAV, finally appeared as the new lead. The transformation of Wendy Earhart from a clumsy secretary in OAV to a cold-blooded executioner in TV (particular in ep16: "Fahrenheit 451"; if you are a book lover you should be able to tell what happened in this episode by the title) and the revelation of Joker's real plan were both astonishing and shocking. TV version also answered a lot of unexplained questions and mysteries in OAV. However, there's still some unexplained background information, such as the relationship between Yomiko and her mentor/predecessor. Also pay attention to that this series have no male lead; all leading roles are female (Junior can hardly be considered as a lead, and he has a rather feminine bishounen look.) If you like the OAV you must watch this sequel. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (various historical references, plus conspiracy theories) Culture-Barrier:Low
Mahoromatic - Automatic Maiden (TV) Good Man, this one has more nudity than anything else I've seen other than eros/hentai. The fan service is a bit excessive, but they are not explicit, so I'll pass. The ending theme, "Mahoro de Mambo" by Triomatic (three supporting voice actresses), fits perfectly to a romantic comedy like this one. However, there are still many unexplained isssues, such as Suguru's income -- even if he has a foundation of his heritage, it's quite expensive to hire a live-in maid (remember that he was not expecting someone like Mahoro). Moreover, what kind of a maid referral agency would introduce Mahoro to him?! Aren't those Vesper's conspiracies?! :p Story:6 Art:8 Animation:5 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
(The) Place Promised in Our Early Days (movie) Excellent Makoto Shinkai's highly anticipated movie (fans have been waiting for over two years). While the detail level of railroad facilities is second to none (it's almost photo-realistic), many other details are lost or simply ignored, making me quite disappointed. The story could have been better and more gripping. The animation, of course, is at its finest. However, although Japanese seiyuus are generally good, the two American voice actors are simply horrible. It's like they've dragged some random Americans from the street of Azabu, Tokyo. Music by Tenmon is at his best, although presonally I prefer the faster and more sorrowful version in the pilot video. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:7 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Sakura Wars: The Movie Very good Magnificent visuals and outstanding vocal performances (Lachette has no Japanese accents when speaking in English, and she's a solid singer as well) but with a lousy ending. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:10 Music:9 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (Kanji everywhere)
Pia Carrot e Yōkoso!! - Sayaka no Koi Monogatari (movie) Decent Lots of fan-service eye candies, Pia Carrot Movie does not have a solid story. However the girls and their custumes are beautifully designed and drawn. Voice acting is fine, but singing performance by seiyuus is unexpectedly poor. Story:4 Art:9 Animation:8 Voice:6 Music:6 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (OAV) Decent Like Tsuioku-Hen, the anime character design is deformed (redesigned and directed by same people), and worst of all the story became ridiculous. While the beginning half is just bunch of memories (read: recycling scenes), what Kauru did to "ease Kenshin's pain" is just plain stupidity, and, unlike Tsuioku-Hen, the history line is inconsistent with real history. Still the animation is top-notch. Story:3 Art:6 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:4 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (requires knowledge of early Meiji period)
SaiKano (TV) Excellent Keep some tissue paper aside -- you'll need them for your tears. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (anti-war existentialism) Culture-Barrier:Medium
Pom Poko (movie) Excellent It's sad to see tanukis fighting a war that's impossible to win. However, the cultural barrier in this film might be too large for Western viewers. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (Japanese mythology)
NieA_7 (TV) Excellent It's hilarious in the beginning, and it shows the lesser known side of Japan: many rural areas are not as rich as city dwellers, and have slow paces of life and traditional lifestyles, even being not far from a metropolis. Simply put, the time flows slowlier in those areas. In the latter part of the anime, NieA_7 lets us to slow down our own lifestyle and reconsider the priorities in our lives. CGs are very subtle and can hardly be visible. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Blue Submarine No.6 (OAV) Excellent It's hard to believe this anime was produced in 1998. Only its successor, Last Exile, by the same group of people, could match the aesthetics in its breathtaking animation (character similarity due to both designed by Range Murata is clearly visible). The story is very thought-provoking in many ways; environmentalism, equality, and human stupidity of repeating history. However, Verg is way too ugly and brainless, too much a stereotypical villain. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (tons of terminology of submarine warfare) Culture-Barrier:Low
Air (TV) Excellent It's hard to believe that an H-game and its adapted anime can be so deep and moving. For those who keep following Misuzu's part of the storyline, they face a dilemma: to let her live in lonely despair, or fullfill her glimpse of life with happiness? It was a big relief that the two younger children at the end of finale symbolize souls of Kanna and Ryuya have finally break the 1000-years curse. Those who have never played the game may have some degree of difficulty to get into the story, though. Side stories with Kano, Minagi and Michiru deliver more than we expected as well. The animation is THE finest ever seen, with flawless 3D and 2D combination. The scene with an electric fan was jaw-dropping; looks like Kyoto Animation tried to use that to demonstrate their sophisticated skills. Music and voice acting are also in finest level. All and all this is a spetacular work of art, with the exception of a steep learning curve. Story:9 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (especially the Summer Arc)
Please Twins! (OAV) Very good It's good to see the return of many Onegai Teacher characters who had very little role in TV version (Koishi Herikawa, Hyosuke Magumo and Kaede Misumi). Watching the twin girl, who is now reluctant to let go her "onii-chan" to be with her best friend by becoming a annoying brat, is very hilarious. Yes it's fan servicing, but in a natural, heartwarming way, which is good and suits my taste. A must see for fans of "Onegai" series. Strangely though, the animation has some lagging problem. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:6 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Good Morning Call (OAV) Good It's difficult to squeeze a serialized manga into less than 20 minutes, but Good Morning Call did that quite nicely. Even if you've never read the manga version you can get into the story in no time. Characters are cute and, although typically shoujo, are very comfortable to watch. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Chibits (special) Decent It's cute, but expect no more than a spinoff watching Sumomo and Kotoko fooling around.... Rie Tanaka as Chii sounds very different (and nowhere as good) as her performance in the TV series. Story:5 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:5 Music:7 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Gunslinger Girl (TV) Excellent It was once rumored to be a "Saishuu Heiki Lolita" :p As an anime fan as well as a weaponry freak, those weapon settings are highly appreciated, particular for Rico when she yields a Dragunov as tall as herself. A perfect combination of high-tech weapons, renaissance arts, wonderful background music, and lolitas. :p However, after I finished the series, I was deeply moved by Henrietta's attitute towards her inevitable fate. Since she was rescued (almost in a resurrected way) by the "Society", she is willing to die for protecting Jose, the one she loves; this echos the OP theme song very well. Finally, although the end is a bit abrupt, using Beethoven's 9th in the finale pounds deeply into your soul. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Rizelmine (TV) Good It was a rather brainless series in the beginning, but the second season is much better and dramatic, so the overall plot line went okay, but it's still filled with saccharine, as well as its music and voice acting. Too bad what Aoi ends up with... Story:7 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:7 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Magnetic Rose (movie) Excellent It takes a great deal of strong mind to shatter an illusion of happy family by one's own hand, especially by someone with such a trauma. However the end is a bit rushed. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Paranoia Agent (TV) Very good It may seem like a typical police story, but turns out very differently. Paranoia Agent brillantly described the uneasiness of modern Japanese citizen since late 1980s. When economy boomed, emptiness of minds followed. One of the best psychological anime. Story:9 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:High Culture-Barrier:High
Di Gi Charat - A Trip to the Planet (movie) Decent It makes you feel warm watching the ED. Uses quite a few Star Trek references. Story:5 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
Love Hina X'mas Special - Silent Eve Good It made a twist in plot of who made the promise with Keitaro compared with manga version, but the rest are fillers. Most importantly, it missed my favorite scene, when Keitaro yelled out "You are my only love!" to Naru while holding each of his hands to Naru and Mutsumi(!), and everyone around were staring at Keitaro with anger! ^_^ Story:6 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Junkers Come Here (movie) Excellent It is very heartwarming, but the story is a bit too predictable for older viewers. Animation is top-notch in 1995 level. The way Junkers uses restrooms to pee (and flush!) is just amazing.... Story:8 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful (TV) Very good It is rare and fantastic to see a sequel better than its original, at least during the latter half of the season. Towards the end, all those mysteries, including Suguru's income, why Suguru would meet Mahoro, and why the 'Management' (read: Illuminati) tried to kill Suguru so hard, are revealed. The android without 'Three Laws of Robotics' killed his creator was thought-provoking; how Mahoro sacrifice herself to protect Suguru in ep. 13 was particularly moving; the storytelling of ep. 14 (finale) was quite novel and unexpected. The only little disappointing issue is the ending theme performed by Triomatic was not as good as "Mahoro de Mambo" of the first season. After all, this is much better than a typical romantic comedy I expected. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:5 Voice:7 Music:6 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Metropolis (movie) Very good It is hard to imagine that Osamu Tezuka wrote this epic story at the age of 21. However, the story is rather predicable and some inconsistancies are quite evident; I'm not sure whether it is edited by movie script writer. With the help of modern CGI the visual effects are excellent, but the music is pre-war American, rare in anime. It's also evident that the Metropolis is modelled after New York City. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Black Jack: The Two Doctors Of Darkness (movie) Very good In order to emphasize the continuing conflicts between Black Jack and Chirico, it combined three different chapters of the original manga to form a complete movie. I have to say that Makoto Tezuka did a great job doing so, and so are the artistic works and the animation. However, young and less experieced voice actors (Rock and Midori) were no match to those of Black Jack and Pinoko's, plus the Western (cowboyish) music does not quite fit in. I can understand that the musician tried to create a mood of dueling, yet BJ and Chirico seldom confront (except the James Bond-like sequence, which might need some other types of music); rather, they walk away from each other, marking their different philosophies. Therefore I'd say its music had me decreased its score a bit. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:7 Music:5 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
D.C. ~Da Capo~ (TV) Good In order to attract more audience, harem genre has to add some spices in addition to fan service, and forbidden love plus magic are getting popular. Da Capo is the result of this trend. The first few episodes seem going nowhere, but the plot gets much better in later episodes with dramatic stories. Overall, the plot could fit in a single season (13 episodes) instead of a double season (26 episodes), but since there are too many female characters it takes time to establish personalities. The animation is above average, although I don't quite like the character design personally. Voice actings are very well; each cast member fits their respective roles quite nicely. A good improvement in the old harem genre, if you have enough patience to sit through first few episodes. Story:7 Art:6 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise (movie) Excellent If they took out the unnecessary scene where Shirotsugh assults Leiqunni and reduced the assassination attempt sequence than this would be an instant classic. It reminds us our 1960s when both USA and USSR have a group of diligent people trying to pursue a seemingly impossible dream while defying the influence and pressure from the military. The launching sequence was provided by NASA, but the rocket design is purely Russian. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
To Heart (TV) Good I'm not sure if the character "Multi" made Yui Horie a big star who almost overshadowed the leading female, Akari Kamigishi voiced by Ayako Kawasumi. Before Multi appeared Yui Horie only voiced for nameless characters. BTW Ayako's voice never changes, from To Heart to Mahoromatic to Ai Yori Aoshi. She always plays for the nice, kind-hearted girl who cooks well -- her character changes only if she's not the lead female. Wish she could take some other leading role. Story:5 Art:8 Animation:6 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Daicon films (special) Very good I'll focus on Daicon IV, the better, more professional version. Gainax was created by this short film. Its animation was top-notch, considering its age. It's also the first anime I know of incorporating CGI technology. It does not have much story (even less than Daicon III), yet it's funny and beautiful, with excellent music. Thus it has become a milestone in anime history. Story:5 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:N/A Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (movie) Excellent I'd like to rate this one as a masterpiece if I have never read the manga...the manga version is THE masterpiece of masterpieces. Story:9 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:10 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:High (environmentalism) Culture-Barrier:Low
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OAV) Very good I'd give a much higher score if I have never read the manga. The anime character design deformed Nobuhiro Watsuki's artwork, and in my opinion they are not pretty at all. Tomoe was much more beautiful in manga and almost stole the position of female lead from Kaoru. Nobuhiro Watsuki admitted that he modeled Tomoe after Rei Ayanami, the famous emotionless girl in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Story:8 Art:6 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (requires knowledge of early Meiji period)
GTO: The Movie (live-action) So-so I just don't understand: why Japanese can created so many great manga and anime, but their respective live-action versions are always lame as hell?! It could be that anime is voiced by old-school-trained seiyuu, while live-action version always casts handsome idols who can't act.
Tristia of the Deep Blue Sea (OAV) Decent I had high expectation for this one, but it didn't turn out very well. Volume 1 had good jokes, but volume 2 was very predictable, and some characters have no role at all. The animation should be more refined with today's technology. Story:5 Art:6 Animation:6 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Emma: A Victorian Romance (TV) Excellent I don't expect many people to enjoy this title. Best old-fashioned romance story, with no fan service, harem, whatever. Just pure love between two persons. Man, I'm getting old. The production team is the same of Juuni Kokki, so almost every aspect of this title has been carefully drawn, animated, and polished. The anime remains the simple yet beautiful art style by Kaoru Mori, so every screenshot is a relaxing picture. Too bad that it ends so soon; hopefully there will be a second season (as hinted at the last episode). Story:9 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:High (knowledge of Victorian society required, plus this is not a title for hot-blooded teenagers) Culture-Barrier:Low
Now and Then, Here and There (TV) Masterpiece I could not stop crying after watching this. Although the plot wass not very deep and the end was almost predictable, its story was so dark and sad, pushing human morality to the edge. We saw characters murder and be murdered, betray and be betrayed, sexually violated, kidnap and even slaughter innocent children in order to obey one's order, not to mention countless physical abuses. Many actions were not performed out of fun or even free will, but out of fear and a smallest hope for future. We saw how difficult to stand up against the mass, against the authority, just in order to uphold and protect the right thing to do. Although Shu's optimism was a bit too exaggerated, this is the most precious gift a human being can posess in the most desparate situation. And at the end, Shu returned to his time and space; was his weeks in hell just like a dream? Story:10 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:10 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
ToHeart - Remember my memories (TV) Decent How do I say it... the story was not polished, the character design was, although more similar to the original game, very weird, and looked even worse when animated. Kazuya Ichijou as Hiroyuki Fujita was very annoying in this sequel: yelling all the time. I managed to stay tuned only because my love towards two female protagonists (and their respective seiyuu, too). The music is not bad, though. Story:6 Art:5 Animation:4 Voice:6 Music:7 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Angelium (OAV) Good Hmm, with a standard "three sisters" setting, I was a bit surprised that the male lead only had sex with the middle girl; the eldest only gave him orals, while the youngest girl has no sex scene at all (self censorship?). The story is quite simplistic, but its funny moments made it above average. Story:6 Art:6 Animation:7 Voice:6 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
Those Who Hunt Elves (TV) Good Hilarious, although the manga version is funnier due to its 'R' rating; the TV version, on the other hand, had to reduce much nudity in order to comply censorship. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Low
His and Her Circumstances (TV) Good Hideaki Anno can always turn a romantic comedy into a psychic drama. Yes, I know that Kare Kano has more in-depth self-talks than most romantic comedies, but Anno is picking my nerve by presenting the story in the form of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is his pet project. Reviewing previous episodes with up to five minutes after OP is just the beginning of wasting time. There's no true dialogue in the finale episode -- all narration, in an annoying, NGE-like pseudo-psychic repeating form. Basically the reruns, the finale, and low-cost (GAINAX?!) frame recycling ruins the originally excellent show, saved by good voice acting and selection of music. Story:7 Art:6 Animation:3 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Sakura Wars (OAV) So-so Heck, I watched TV and movie before watching this OVA, so my comment may be biased, since TV has a much better story and character development while the movie has awe-inspiring visuals, the OVA has neither. The story emphasized too much on the establishment of Hanagumi, and while Maria's role was following the original plot (rather than being replaced, she resigned), Kana's AWOL was unnecessary, and Sakura's and Oogami's role had been minimized, and it was just too short. The comic relief was okay by Kohran but totally out of place by General Yoneda. Animation-wise, it couldn't and shouldn't be compared with the movie, but lose it to TV is not a good sign, and it's still sub-par in late '90s. Voice acting needs special mentioning, for Urara Takano as Maria has the best English I have heard among all Japanese seiyuu: fluent with no accent at all; Kohran's Chinese, on the other hand, was unbelievably rediculous since Shanghai citizen do not speak Mandarin in private occasions, although I acknowledge efforts by Yuriko Fuchizaki. Story:4 Art:6 Animation:4 Voice:6 Music:5 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
(The) Cat Returns (movie) Very good Heartwarming short story; better watch "Whisper of the Heart" first since this is basically a spin off and shares charactors. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Piano (TV) Very good Having studied piano for eight years myself, I recommand this anime to whoever loves classical music and tranquility over excitement. One thing worths special mentioning is that OP is composed and performed by Ayako Kawasumi, seiyuu of Miu Nomura. However, the pace of this series is quite slow for those who don't have much idea about classical music. Another problem is that Kosuke Fujishima apparently recycled his characters from his other works, namely Skuld from "Ah! My Goddess" as Miu Nomura and Kaede Fujieda from "Sakura Wars" as Hitomi Nomura. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Love Hina (TV) Good Harem anime at its best. The character design is quite different from manga version, though. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:9 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Kino's Journey (TV) Masterpiece Hands down the best story in a TV series I have ever seen. As a mature version of Le Petit Prince, Kino's Journey uses various metaphors (including some famous historical events) to reflect our own stupidity to the extent of making you feel chest pain. Story:10 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (extremely thought-provoking, even makes audiences uncomfortable at times) Culture-Barrier:Low
Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy (TV) Excellent For a person who did NOT cry when watching Grave of the Fireflies, I had tears in my eyes when watching the last episode of Sugar. I couldn't believe it myself; probably because I never expect this kawaii-based anime, aiming at younger children, would have such a touching and moving story. (On the contrary, I might have too much expectation on Grave of the Fireflies since everyone told me it's very, very, very sad). Character design by Koge Donbo is guarenteed to be cute, and the cityscape by watercolor is pretty. CG is subtle but beautiful, and the classical music is always very yasashii (tender). In summary, this is the best anime for all different background and age groups. Story:9 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Chobits (TV) Very good Finally I can realize the reason why Chii was voted, with a overwhelming victory, to be the most favorite anime female charactor in 2002. She is simply the Queen of Lolita: gentle, docile, accidental fan service, and unbelievably kawaii. Even from the opening theme I can tell this is such a kawaii series -- sweet and a bit lazy tone added the atmosphere. Moreover, matching Chii's lips with part of lyrics was a great idea. I'd say she'll hold her position for years to come. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Chrono Crusade (TV) Very good Fillers. There's not enough time for entire story; how could script writers put fillers in?! Too many things left unexplained. They should have stick to manga story. Gonzo's animation capability is once again proven, especially the OP sequence. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Case Closed: The Last Magician of the Century (movie) Good Fabergé eggs are more interesting. This anime glorified Czar family too much.
Di Gi Charat Natsuyasumi Special So-so Episode 3 is the lamest anime episode I have seen. It almost ruin the show. Other episodes are so-so. Story:4 Art:6 Animation:6 Voice:7 Music:6 Tilt:4 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
(The) Twelve Kingdoms (TV) Excellent Epic historical saga and one of the best personal development rarely seen these days. It has one of the best OP music of all time. The only weakness is Youko's fight with Aosaru in her heart during Act 1. Act 3, however, is simply the best TV series masterpiece I have ever seen. Require a good deal of knowledge of Chinese mythology and history of Zhou Dynasty (fortunately I do have them :). I wonder how many Japanese audiences can read ancient Chinese calligraphy used in the anime (known as "Seal Script Major" <-- who invented this translation?!) Story:9 Art:9 Animation:8 Voice:10 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:High (mental tug-of-war and knowledge for Zhou dynasty politics required) Culture-Barrier:High (same reason)
Please Teacher! (TV) Very good Dream girl of every high school boys, Mizuho Kazami is the typical representation of "tender elder professional woman with a pair of glass and a pair of big b00b." The ending is apparently rushed. However the CG of transporting is fabulous. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Diamond Daydreams (TV) Very good Dating sims are difficult to be adapted into anime, since a game is always open-ended (with the girl you picked) but an anime needs a finite ending. The screenwriter of Kita He did a good job by having no male protagonist (the player in the game) at all and enphasize love stories in girls' perspective instead. It's getting better and better towards the end. The idea of using Chinese erhu as the main solo instrument is very novel; it creates a nostalgic mood. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Kiki's Delivery Service (movie) Excellent Corico is a city beautifully drawn; a combination of Stockholm, Visby, San Francisco, and Paris. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:10 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Submarine 707R (OAV) Very good Compared with its cousin, Blue Submarine No.6, 707R is more light-hearted and focuses on submarine warfare rather than philosophy and environmentalism. However, the story left too many questions untold: how did USR get its funding and technology? What will happen between UX-01 and 707R? Only time (or sequel?) will tell. The leviathan aircraft carrier is beyond imagination and has become unrealistic, but the final confrontation was well-written and well-executed. The opening sequence, directed by Hideaki Anno, is almost identical to The Wings of Honneamise, also directed by him. This recycling isn't good. BTW, captain Hayami is the luckiest man I've ever seen in anime, with a beautiful and sexy wife and a cute and equally sexy daughter. No wonder his XO would get blushed when he saw Ayami; she had set a new standard for moe lolita (i.e. jailbait). Story:8 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:High (tons of terminology of submarine warfare) Culture-Barrier:Low
Time Stranger Kyoko (OAV) Not really good Compared with "Good Morning Call" which it co-aired at 2001 Ribon Festival, Time Stranger Kyoko is much weaker, has no introduction at all, and can only attract those who love the manga. New audiences would never know what the plot line is and who's who. Cute characters save it from the bottom. Story:3 Art:6 Animation:5 Voice:5 Music:6 Tilt:5 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
You're Under Arrest: The Movie Decent Can't remember the detail. :(
Genshiken (TV) Excellent By far the funniest anime I have ever seen. The creator must have been an okatu himself and has a small but zealous group of otaku friends. With the eye of a "commoner" Saki Kasukabe, this title covers almost all parts of otaku life and the reasons behind them. Many in-jokes and easter eggs can only be found if you have been an ACGM (Anime + Comic + Game + Model (latex and plastic)) fan for a long time and have sampled enough titles from every aspects. The voice acting are superb, particularly by Satsuki Yukino as Saki Kasukabe and Nobuyuki Hiyama as Harunobu Madarame. Their voices are very versatile and dramatically expressive. The OP theme fits perfectly, both by its lyric and music. A special mention must be addressed for its sound effects in the campus, particularly the sound of musical instruments praticing near the Student Extra-Curricular Activities Building. Even without the video, the sound itself could bring my memory back to my undergraduate years. That is simply amazing. The most significant flaw of this title making it unable to become a masterpiece, besides some filler episodes, is the animation quality. In addition to varying heights of characters when standing together (lacking of height comparison board?) and the size of Genshiken's club room, two similar frames are misplaced in episode 6. This is an evidence of lacking quality control. Hopefully they'll fix it in DVD release. Story:9 Art:6 Animation:3 Voice:10 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (requires extensive knowledge on ACGM community) Culture-Barrier:High (see above)
Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter - Sanctuary (OAV) Good Brings up good old memories with beautiful CG. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Porco Rosso (movie) Masterpiece Best viewed by mid-aged man, with a stable but rather boring job, slowly losing his faith in human race. It may bring you to tears if your job, that you once chose with great passion, is no more than a stagnant pond of dead water of repetitive actions day after day now. Story:10 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:10 Music:10 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (you have to be seasoned in order to be echoed) Culture-Barrier:Low
Last Exile (TV) Excellent Best animation production to date, but Alvis' seiyuu is not good enough. Her voice is too monotonic -- I'm not sure whether this is intentional. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Oh My Goddess! (OAV) Good Before I watched this OAV someone told me that Japanese feminists hate this anime a lot. I can understand this emotion, since I have read and am still reading the manga in which Belldandy is the perfection of every man's fantasy; however, hatred might be a bit over the edge. Unfortunately, even as early as in ep 2 I found out why: in order to squeeze everything in five episodes, they shortened the story and eliminated the relationship development between Belldandy and Keiichi. The story of ep 2 starts six months after the end of ep 1; at then Belldandy behaves like Keiichi's obedient wife. Compared with the manga, which is much more subtle, this is way too abrupt and makes the audience think Belldandy fell in love with Keiichi with no apparent reason. This OAV also created many inconsistencies against the original; we can only regard it as "alternate timelines" (note: Kosuke Fujishima is a Trekker. Go and look for guest appearences of Trek characters in manga.) Hopefully the rumored TV release will abide the original manga and give us a better story. Story:5 Art:8 Animation:6 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Blood Shadow (OAV) Decent Basically this is hardly a hentai; rather, I'd consider it a fantasy story with lots of explicit scenes e.g. Kite, thus it has more depth than your average adult anime titles. It is also very rare to see the male lead accepting a handicapped female lead at the end of the story, which is quite moving. However, while BGM sound okay, the intro music is completely out of touch. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:7 Music:4 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Maria Watches Over Us Season 2: Printemps (TV) Very good Basically the same as the original, but the story lacks a mainstay, making it more like "slice of life," and there are still many unanswered questions (like the relationship between Yumi and Touko) at the lame ending, which could be a hint for another season. Story:7 Art:9 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Ame to Shoujo to Watashi no Tegami (ONA) Very good At first glance I thought this is another Makoto Shinkai short. Empire Boy, the creator of the entire movie and the fantasy world behind it, has merged the best art styles from Makoto Shinkai (light and shadow effects, storytelling), Yoshitoshi ABe (character design, mood establishment), Range Murata (mechanical design), and Kiyohiko Azuma (comic relief, particularly the eyes). The background art and settings are so elaborate that's almost breathtaking. BGM features steel drums -- not something you'd expect in most anime title. Another good thing is this title is freely downloadable and has attracted fans for Empire Boy for around the world. Wish we could see more interesting stories with personal production. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Kite (OAV) Excellent As mentioned in ANN's review, this is an excellent show but not for everyone due to adult contents. Sawa is not an ordinary girl -- she's not even an ordinary assasin. Witnessing her parents being murdered, she realized who the culprits are immediately but kept her head down for four years in hell, being trained, ordered, and sexually abused by her 'guardian.' The ending is quite sad, and I was right to predict that little brat girl has more role in the story.... Story:9 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (TV) Good As GAINAX's 20th anniversary presentation, KonoMini is not good enough to be an instant classic (e.g. LastEXILE from Gonzo for its 10th anniversary), but it is still a lovely series to watch. Most casts and staffs are direct migrants from Mahoromatic, and their roles are respective "mirrors" from Mahoromatic as well, plus the unavoidable storyline about destroying and rebuilding the world in every GAINAX's work since NGE, decreasing its originality. However the character design is on par with, if not better than, Mahoromatic, and it has many, many kawaii fan service scenes that could make Mahoromatic embarrassed. It seems that GAINAX is behind the trend of CG animation. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Quiet Country Cafe (OAV) Excellent As beautiful and freshening as the original, with better animation and astounding music. However, the story is not as solid and was forced to omit a lot of stuff in order to fit in the length of film. It could be much better if it has 1-2 more episodes to give more background and side stories. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:10 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:High Culture-Barrier:Medium
Witch Hunter Robin (TV) Excellent As a veteran of Deus Ex, the famous computer game of the year 2000 and one of the best game in history, I felt its signature is everywhere in Witch Hunter Robin. Both featured a young budding agent entering an elite law enforcement agency. While building up their strength and experience, they begin to realize the agency may not as it should have been. Once they've discovered the dirty secret of the place, the hunter becomes the hunted, and the protagonists are forced to fight against his former colleagues. Its music (composed by Taku Iwasaki) has a similar night life mood as in Deus Ex; even the clothing styles are similar. The only major difference is the ability of the protagonist: one is magical and the other is cybernetic. For the technical part, the 3-D background art is simply fantastic and fascinating -- the best I have ever seen; on the contrary, the foreground animation used less CG than the background. Overall this is a great work for every mature anime fan, especially those who have been immersed in the world of Deus Ex; yet it seems I'm the only person on Internet who feel this way. Story:9 Art:10 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (too much information in the beginning, but predictable for Deus Ex veteran) Culture-Barrier:Low
Kino's Travels: Life Goes On (movie) Very good As a lonely traveler, how and when can you trust a stranger? This prequel lets us know how Kino has become such a tomboyish, gun-wielding girl. The scene she and her mentor using a German MG-42 is particularly funny. Other aspects are similar to the TV version. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Koihime (OAV) Decent As a hentai title, it has an above-average plot and a quite good ending. The 2-D animation is only so-so, but 3-D CGI is acceptable. I feel some voices were played by veteran seiyuus, for there's no cast list at all. Story:6 Art:6 Animation:6 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Kanon Kazahana (special) Decent As a bonus episode, it did not have much story, but it supplemented several missing points of TV finale, such as drawing a conclusion of the relationship between Yuuichi and Nayuki after they reunited with Ayu (*sob* again). It also gave us a better, less heartbreaking farewell to Makoto. The animation was not as fabulous as TV version. Story:6 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
FLCL (OAV) Good Another mixed bag. Some parts of the story are brilliant, like the confrontation between Naota and Ninamori, but most jokes are staged or recycled from other works. Making jokes of other famous anime are fun for anime veterans but newbies would be quite confused. The art style is simplistic, but animation is fluid at some part while lazy (using manga frames) in others. The music is not my style but fits the story quite well. In summary, this is something similar to most GAINAX works: good but not great, and often overhyped. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:5 Music:8 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Lunar Legend Tsukihime (TV) Very good Another fantasy tragedy done well, besides Saikano. Feels particularly astonishing when you feel one episode is no more than a filler then...BOOM! Big revealation. However, it's a pity that being too short, many mysteries are not explained (or it's intended so?) and unlike the original game, the anime ending eliminates the possibility for sequels. The sad and tragic end is one of the most beautifully written in romantic tragedy anime titles. EDIT: After learning the original story of the game, I decreased my score a little, from Excellent to Very Good, for the story could have been even better. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
I''s (OAV) Not really good Another common problem: lacking character introduction. It spent several minutes in the beginning for nothing; dialogue were so few and so vague as if they were Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator. If I haven't finished I"s manga I would not be able to know who's who, not to mention their intricate relationships (such as Iori's modeling/idol/actress career, and Itsuki's childhood memories). Charactor designs distorted Masakazu Katsura's trademark beautiful female figures; heck, I've seen I"s doujinshi with better art. Animation is fine, though. The ED music was a piece of crap...it's bearable, but still crap. By the way, it's totally impossible to swim in a water tunnel during flooding, not to mention that Ichitaka sucks in swimming in manga. Story:3 Art:5 Animation:7 Voice:6 Music:4 Tilt:3 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Please Teacher! (OAV) Very good An ecchi episode; everyone is sleeping with their loved ones. I wonder why characters played by Yumi Takada are always sexy shota-kons. It's a rare opportunity to listen to a mad Kikuko Inoue. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Kiddy Grade (TV) Good An above-average story with some conflicting background settings. While Lumière fits quite well in her role (an 100-years-old mind in a 10-years-old body), Éclair is way too un-knowledgeable and keeps asking silly questions (yet she's very calm and capable at times), and using a Walther P99 in a world filled with interstellar traveling and nanotechnology is just out of place. The development of hidden plots from ep 7-15 was exciting, yet the story arc of final episodes (21-24) almost ruins the entire series. Finally, as a Deus Ex veteran I knew an agent would be immediately eliminated for the first sign of rebellion, particularly if the agent was cybernetically enhanced. Éclair and Lumière seem to have forgotten this before defection. However, the artstyle and animation are very nicely done, and so does the voice acting and music. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ (TV) Good Although the series were pretty good, the finale is quite disappointing...does not conclude anything. Is this the unavoidable fate for sequels? Possible explanation: the manga version hasn't finished yet and they want to leave the ending as open as possible. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:9 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Fantastic Children (TV) Excellent Although the character design is very simplistic, the story is epic and very imaginative. Just think about it: a group of extraterrestal children reincarnate again and again for dozens of times in search of their princess, which also involves many key scientific discoveries of our timeline. It also addresses how scientists should apprehend the unknown. The OP and (particularly) ED are extremely moving. Story:9 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Stink Bomb (movie) Decent Although it's the first anime have the equipment of a biochemistry laboratory carefully drawn, the story really stinks. It is from a science-hater who regard all scientists are mad and try to control and/or destroy the world. Nobuo Tanaka is too young as a scientist and his behavior does not reflect one either. Story:4 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:2 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Black Jack Special: The 4 Miracles of Life Very good Although it's just a short pilot series acting as a prelude for the coming TV series, it picked some of the best chapters from the original manga. It also has marked a milestone for utilizing improved animation of the 21st century for Black Jack for the first time. Story:9 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Kanon (TV 1/2002) Very good Although it's based on a typical one-boy-many-girls harem theme, Kanon is not a light-hearted romatic comedy at all. On the contrary, it's almost like a younger version of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien: both adapted from games and both have heavy burdens beneath smiling faces. However, unlike KimiNozo, this time the 'dream girl' scored (my poor Nayuki *sob*). Yuuichi is way too dumb for Nayuki's feelings. Adding supernatural elements is novel but did not improve much about the plot. The OP music and animation was surprisingly astounding; something I didn't expect from a harem. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Immoral Sisters 2 (OAV) Decent Although I watched this one before the original Immoral Sisters, I knew they were raped by Nogawa Sr. and Jr., so seeing them enjoying sex making me hard to sympathize their traumatic pasts. Story:6 Art:5 Animation:6 Voice:6 Music:5 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Serial Experiments Lain (TV) Very good Although I rated it as 'very good', this is not an amine for faint hearts! Personally, I was blown away after ep. 9 due to my knowledge of neural network, centralized Internet hub, MJ-12, Illuminati, Knights Templar, and Deus Ex Machina. Viewers lacking those knowledges might not understand this series at all. Some say this one is 'headache inducing', I'd say it's 'psychosis inducing.' You are WARNED!! Story:8 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:5 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (extremely hard to understand; knowledge of conspiracy theories and cybernetics required) Culture-Barrier:Low
Someday's Dreamers (TV) Good Although a bit slow and boring in the beginning, it's getting better and better towards the end. Yume should understand that to lose something you treasure is even worse than never owned. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Spirited Away (movie) Excellent Almost masterpiece; what I don't understand is in the end -- what's the purpose for identifying Chihiro's parents, and how does she realize there's none? Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:9 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (Japanese mythology)
Whisper of the Heart (movie) Excellent Ahh, if I had such courage ten years ago... :p Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:9 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
(Le) Portrait de Petite Cossette (OAV) Very good Ah, the ultimate Gothic Lolita. This is a really creepy (almost wicked) story, particular in the beginning, but near the end the story opens up much more. In one way, the story can been seen as a criticism to obsessed lolicon-otaku e.g. Tsutomu Miyazaki. The music, art and animation is just as it should be: dark and Gothic. It's also hard to believe that voice actress Marina Inoue debuted in this anime, who has such a good performance. Story:8 Art:9 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Ichigeki Sacchu!! HoiHoi-san (special) Good Ah, the dream machine of every entomologist! HoiHoi-san is so cute and adorable, it's hard to believe that she's a tiny machine. The night vision of HoiHoi-san should be remodeled. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:6 Voice:8 Music:N/A Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Please Twins! (TV) Very good Ah, every man's fantasy: live together with two beautiful girls. Getting much better in latter episodes. Story:7 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:8 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Perfect Blue (movie) Very good After watching Millenium Actress by Satoshi Kon prior to this one, I'd say the story of Perfect Blue is rather easy to figure out. The culprit could not be the ghoul-looking, half-crazy stalker, because this would be very, very lame. So the real murderer could only be either 1) Mima's other self or 2) someone really close to her, other than the stalker. Since it could enrage the audiences that the kawaii female lead is the murderer, it is not difficult to solve the mystery. After all this is not written nor designed by Satoshi Kon himself. Story:8 Art:8 Animation:9 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
A Tree of Palme (movie) Decent After watching Love Hina TV ep 20 and playing 'Syberia' I was amazed by automaton stories, therefore when I found this one I jumped in immediately. The originality and CG are brillant, but I can hardly understand what the writer and/or the director want the audiences to see, and lacking background information for this exotic but bizarre universe could create a lot of headache. It's the anime I found most difficult to understand -- even harder than the first few episodes of Haibane Renmei or Serial Experiments Lain. Story:5 Art:7 Animation:9 Voice:7 Music:8 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Like the Clouds, Like the Wind (special) Very good Adapted from a novel, the story is well-written in the beginning, but one of its Achilles' heel is the end. The need of a narrator to conclude the story makes it feels unfinished and rushed. The story contains many comedic reliefs, but it's always difficult to stuff a novel into less than eighty minutes. The character design are cute but not excellent, especially the ridiculous stereotypical Ching dynasty custume and mustache. By the way, an eunuch is castrated before puberty, so he should have no beard or mustache in adulthood. Voice acting is quite good, but the music is a bit typecast pseudo-Chinese style. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Cannon Fodder (movie) Good A story showing the stupidity of a totalitarian nation which's citizen knows nothing but following the leadership and fight against an imaginary enemy. The art style is very un-Japanese but more European. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:7 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Low
Dr. Pinoko no Mori no Bōken (movie) Good A perfect nanny to settle children down before the more mature feature film to be aired. The story is very simple so adult audience might find it a little dull if there were not Sharaku and narration by Keiko Takeshita (Phoenix). I was able to identify her voice during the show; it is safe to say the guidance role is custom-made for her. Story:6 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:7 Music:7 Tilt:6 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
Ai Yori Aoshi (TV) Very good A new kind of romatic comedy nicely done, with the dream girl of every single man. Take trains more often and you might meet your childhood sweetheart again! ^_^ Story:8 Art:8 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Arjuna (TV) Excellent A must-see for every biology-related major. Although some scientific details are twisted, exaggerated, and imbued with mythology for dramatic reason, the concept for symbiosis and individuality are well written. Juna is a bit slow to recognize the Gaian concept of "one-ness" and Chris' real motives -- I found out much earlier. The final word "Itadakimasu" by Tokio, usually ushered before eating but symbolizing his thankfulness to Mother Nature here in the end, is rightfully done. Created by the same person of Escaflowne, Shoji Kawamori has made his left-winged Gaian concept quite evident. Story:9 Art:8 Animation:10 Voice:8 Music:9 Tilt:10 Intellect-Level:High (college-level biology background required) Culture-Barrier:Medium
Mahoromatic: Summer Special Good A funny epilogue for Mahoromatic, but not much else other than fan service. Story:6 Art:7 Animation:6 Voice:8 Music:6 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
My Neighbors the Yamadas (movie) Very good A collection of many short stories rather than a unified plot, the Yamadas is one of the best family movie ever made. It may look overly simplified (for either art or story-wise), but it gives you laughter and warmth from simplicity and peace, and the music makes you want to sing along. Great for a family reunion occasion. Story:8 Art:7 Animation:8 Voice:9 Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:High (Japanese lifestyle not common in other anime)
Egao (special) Very good A 2-and-a-half minutes music video rather an anime film, "Egao" is well drawn and extremely kawaii. Makoto Shinkai's signature scenes from "She and Her Cat" are everywhere, including cramp single apartment with heavy metallic door, railroad crossing, cell phone, and most significant, a burning gas stove with flames beautifully drawn by CG. Story:7 Art:7 Animation:10 Voice:N/A Music:8 Tilt:8 Intellect-Level:Medium Culture-Barrier:Medium
Bottle Fairy (TV) Decent 'Bottle Fairy' has no real story whatsoever. The selling point is its pure kawaii-ness, with only one episode has some degree of depth. However, this is sweet and nice to be watched by young children and adults as well -- if you've got enough time to spend. Story:4 Art:5 Animation:7 Voice:8 Music:7 Tilt:7 Intellect-Level:Low Culture-Barrier:Medium
5 Centimeters Per Second (movie) Excellent
Appleseed: Ex Machina (movie) Good
Attack of Higashimachi Nichōme (special) Very good
Brave Story (movie) Very good
Buddha: The Great Departure (movie) Not really good
Bunny Drop (live-action movie) Good
Cencoroll (movie)
A Certain Scientific Railgun (TV) Very good
Chameko’s Day (movie) Not really good
Classes in Seduction (OAV) So-so
Densha Otoko (live-action TV) Excellent
Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (TV) Decent
(The) Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (movie) Excellent
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (movie) Very good
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (movie) Good
From Up On Poppy Hill (movie) Good
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (OAV) Very good
Genshiken (OAV) Very good
(The) Girl Who Leapt Through Time (movie) Excellent
Go! Go! Ackman (OAV) Decent
Hayate the Combat Butler!! (OAV) Good
He Is My Master (TV) Very good
Howl's Moving Castle (movie) Very good
Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu (OAV) Good
K-ON! (movie) Excellent
Kaleido Star: Good dayo! Goood!! (OAV) Good
Kujibiki Unbalance (OAV) Good
Kumo to Tulip (movie) Excellent
Magical Sisters Yoyo & Nene (movie) Very good
Man & Whale (special) Excellent
Man and a High Speed Society (movie) Very good
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV) Masterpiece
My Santa (OAV) Decent
NANA (live-action movie) Excellent
Nasu: Summer in Andalusia (movie) Excellent
Neko no Shūkai (special) Very good
Portable Kuukou (movie) Very good
Princess Arete (movie) Excellent
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 1: Beginnings Excellent
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal Very good
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Part 3: Rebellion Excellent
R20 - Ginga Kūkō (movie) Decent
REC (TV) Very good
Sky Girls (OAV) Good
Space Station No. 9 (movie) Good
Strawberry Marshmallow (TV) Excellent
Summer Wars (movie) Excellent
Superflat Monogram (movie) Very good
Takanashi Rikka • Kai ~Gekijō-ban Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!~ (movie) Very good
Thermae Romae (live-action movie) Decent
Twin Spica (TV) Excellent
Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW (movie)
Windy Tales (TV) Excellent
Wolf Children (movie) Very good