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review

Murciélago GN 1 & 2

This series brings the gore, sex, and action at full volume, but does it have enough substance to balance out the madness? Rebecca Silverman weighs in. ― Murciélago, which is Spanish for “bat,” is definitely one of the darker stories to come out recently. It follows the gruesome, and occasionally sexy, adventures of Kuroko Koumori, a slightly-reformed mass murderer as she works for the Metropolitan P...
review

Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest Novel 1

An entire classroom is transported to another world in this isekai series, and its protagonist must go about getting superpowers the hard way. Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― If there's one thing that sets Arifureta apart from its fellow isekai stories, it's that in this case, an entire high school class is transported to another world, not just one lucky young individual. Not only does this make t...
review

Sword Art Online Novel 10

We check back in with Asuna on the real-world side of things for the first time in the Alicization arc, as the mysteries behind this new virtual world begin to unravel. ― Whatever criticisms might be leveled against SAO creator Reki Kawahara, lack of ambition when it comes to imagining applications for virtual technology isn't one of them. The Soul Transfer Engine that was introduced in the last nove...
review

Hatsune Miku: Bad∞End∞Night GN 1

This scattered volume proves that basing a manga on a Vocaloid song might not be the best idea. Rebecca Silverman explains why. ― Like Kagerou Daze, Bad End Night is based on a Vocaloid song. Unfortunately, that appears to be a premise too thin for an entire volume of manga, much less a series, and this volume can't quite decide if it's a mystery, a spoof on the “bad endings” of visual novels, or sel...
review

Void's Enigmatic Mansion GN 5

The final volume of Void's Enigmatic Mansion is far from perfect, but with stunning art and a largely satisfying conclusion, it's still worth a look. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Whether it's a monkey's paw or a magic lamp, all stories about wishes remind us that a wish can be as much curse as gift. That's a theme that's been explored in all four previous volumes of HeeEun Kim and JiEun Ha's Victori...
review

Ronja the Robber's Daughter Complete Series Streaming

Studio Ghibli and Polygon Pictures' CG TV series may look a little different than expected, using CG models rather than traditional animation, but there's still magic in the story being told. ― Studio Ghibli's first television series is based on Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren's 1981 novel of the same name, Ronja the Robber's Daughter, and it doesn't want you to forget it. The dub script is...
review

My Brother's Husband GN 1

A world apart from the kind of manga yaoi fans are used to reading, My Brother's Husband offers a heartwarming look at prejudice and family through the eyes of a gay male author. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― Yaoi manga does not depict reality. That may seem like an obvious statement – it is fiction, after all – but the genre has led to some misconceptions of LBGTQ life in Japan. Gengoroh Tagame's wor...
review

K: Missing Kings BD+DVD

This movie acts as the bridge between the two K TV series, but does it add much to the franchise overall? Theron Martin has the answers. ― If you're looking for an entry point into the K franchise, this 2014 movie is not the place. It represents the transition point between the events of the first series and second series K: Return of Kings, including a sort of epilogue to the affair with Mikoto and ...
review

Complex Age GNs 3 & 4

Cosplay serves as a metaphor for Nagisa's fears of change, as she faces some of the darker aspects of her hobby in this consistently strong series. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Yui Sakuma's Complex Age has been a difficult story from the start. Following the life of Nagisa, a twenty-six-year-old office worker and cosplayer, the first two volumes dealt with questions of whether or not it was e...
review

My Hero Academia GN 8

This eighth volume runs through a dizzying whirlwind of new events, offering plenty of surprises and few chances to catch your breath. Nick Creamer has the details. ― The average My Hero Academia arc generally lasts for somewhere between one to two volumes worth of content, with only the U.A. Sports Festival really stretching that standard. The manga doesn't waste any time - while other shounen manga...
review

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid — Episodes 1-13 Streaming

This slice-of-life monster girl comedy serves up plenty of humor and heart in surprising ways. Nick Creamer explains what makes Kyoto Animation's Dragon Maid special. ― There are few word pairs more likely to elicit raised eyebrows than “dragon maid.” The pairing sounds like fandom fetish word salad - like you threw two darts at a board of things the kids are into and landed on “maids” and “I dunno, ...
review

Smokin' Parade GN 1

This hyperviolent action manga from the creators of Deadman Wonderland has some unique elements but encounters a little trouble standing out from the pack. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― If you've read Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou's previous work, Deadman Wonderland, you have some idea of what to expect from Smokin' Parade: a dark, bloody, and violent story about a hapless teenage boy whose life ta...
review

Momotaro, Sacred Sailors BD+DVD

If you're a historian, an animation buff, or just looking for a movie that's like nothing you've seen, you'll find Momotaro, Sacred Sailors well worth watching. Mike Toole explains this 1940s-era anime's significance. ― Watching anime from bygone eras will teach you about the medium. Track down those early Precure episodes directed by Rie Matsumoto, and you'll see her strong visual aesthetic taking s...
review

Attack on Titan: Junior High BD+DVD

This silly parody of the titanic hit has its ups and downs, but how big a fan do you have to be to get any of its jokes? Theron Martin investigates. ― Some parody series are funny enough on their own merits that viewers don't have to be more than vaguely familiar with the source material in order to appreciate most of the humor. This is not one of those shows. Attack on Titan: Junior High expects vie...
review

Review: The Red Turtle

Theron Martin takes a look at this unique creation from Studio Ghibli and French animation studio Wild Bunch that snatched the Oscar nomination from Your Name. How does it compare as an experience? ― Calling the 2016 Academy Award nominee The Red Turtle a true anime movie may be dubious, since it's a co-production between Studio Ghibli and the French studio Wild Bunch, directed by Dutch-British anima...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Novel 8

The spotlight pulls away from Bell and Hestia just enough to spotlight other characters' feelings on god/mortal love in this relaxing volume of DanMachi. Theron Martin has the details. ― At 394 pages, the eighth novel of the main DanMachi storyline is the longest novel of the series released in English to date. Rather than using a continuous narrative, it operates within the loose framework of the at...
review

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 7

Major plot points are revealed in the densest novel yet of this increasingly good fantasy series. ― With this seventh volume of Aneko Yusagi's increasingly good fantasy light novel series, we at last begin to not only establish a larger plot beyond “summoned heroes save the world,” but also begin to learn some of the secrets behind what's been happening with the Waves, the heroes, and all of the ench...
review

Goblin Slayer Novel 2

Goblin Slayer and his party head out to the Water City to deal with a very unusual infestation in this second volume of the unique fantasy light novel series. ― It's official – the rogue adventurer known as Goblin Slayer has acquired a party. While this is fairly normal within the realm of standard fantasy, particularly when it takes on the flavor of a role-playing game, tabletop or otherwise, the fi...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team Blu-Ray

This earthier tale of guerrilla warfare in the Universal Century has a lot going for it that you don't find in other Gundam series. Lauren Orsini explains what makes 08th MS Team special. ― Gundam's Universal Century isn't much for compelling love stories—except when it comes to this 1996 OVA. After a slough of Tomino-directed stories in which Newtype pilots fall in love simply by psychically “sensin...
review

Steins;Gate: The Movie BD+DVD

Okabe and his crew of supernerds are back for more time-traveling, world-changing shenanigans in the Steins;Gate movie. Nick Creamer isn't sure you can go home again. ― The Steins;Gate series was one of the first shows I watched when I was first getting back into anime in 2011. Combining distinctive and well-written slice of life material with propulsive science fiction, it was a thrilling and very e...
review

The Betrayal Knows My Name Sub.DVD

This sub-only release hides an enjoyable dark fantasy that's lighter on the BL than you might expect. Rebecca Silverman dives deeper. ― Originally released in 2010 and based on a manga whose English release has been on hiatus until this coming July, The Betrayal Knows My Name at first seems like an odd choice for a DVD release. It's clear that Funimation was a bit trepidatious about it as well – this...
review

Revolutionary Girl Utena [Complete Box Set] GN 1-5

It may not hold up quite as well as its animated counterpart, but Chiho Saito's original manga is still an interesting read in its own right. Rebecca Silverman breaks down this deluxe edition release. ― Despite being created simultaneously by the creative collective Be-Papas, Revolutionary Girl Utena's manga version, written and drawn by Chiho Saito, predates its anime version by roughly a year. Whil...
review

BAKEMONOGATARI: Monster Tale Novel 1

While this book makes a fine treat for Monogatari diehards, it might not be the best place to start the franchise. Nick Creamer explains. ― It's something of a truism in fandom circles that “the original is always better.” Whether it's your favorite comic being adapted into a TV series, or your favorite novel being adapted into a film, the source material generally earns a kind of assumed reverence. ...
review

School-Live! GNs 4-6

School-Live's mix of cute girl moe and zombie survival horror continues to make it a stand-out of both genres. Rebecca Silverman explains how these three volumes differ from the anime's conclusion. ― It's been clear that the anime adaptation of School-Live! differed from its source material for a while now, and two of these three volumes continue to make that evident – books four and five were covere...
review

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (compilation movies)

Crunchyroll's first Anime Movie Night event kicked off with a Kabaneri double feature! Theron Martin has the details on the screening itself and how these movies stack up to the TV series version. ― Film compilations of anime series aren't that unusual; a number of series have gotten them over the years, from Blue Gender and Kiddy Grade back in the day to Madoka Magica and Overlord more recently. How...
review

Noragami Season Two: Aragoto [Limited Edition] BD+DVD

Yato and his ragtag gang return in Noragami's long-awaited second season! Theron Martin explains why this next leg of the story made a much bigger splash than the first. ― The first season of the Noragami manga adaptation got off to a strong start with its story about a girl who finds herself associating with various Japanese gods and the Regalia who serve them, but it floundered later with an anime-...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory Blu-Ray

Does this '80s-tastic, Top-Gun inspired OVA series hold up for modern Gundam fans? Lauren Orsini has the answers. ― There's a reason I refer to Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory as "Top Gundam" for short, and it's not simply because the intro song, “The Winner,” sounds so suspiciously like Danger Zone that it (along with other strangely familiar songs in the score) got composer Mitsuo Hagita a...
game review

Dragon Quest Heroes II

Dragon Quest Heroes II layers thoughtful strategy on top of a solid action-RPG base, but is it enough to stave off musou fatigue? Dustin dives in. ― Here is yet another entry in the pantheon of “Dynasty Warriors but with [blank]” from Omega Force, a single-developer genre that's produced its share of hits and misses, though there's come to be a certain baseline reliable quality that's made these game...
review

Scrapped Princess BD+DVD

One of the best fantasy series of the early 2000s is finally available again on Bluray. Theron Martin takes it for a spin. ― This 24 episode light novel adaptation originally aired during the Spring and Summer seasons of 2003 and saw its first DVD release in the U.S. in 2005-06, with its last Complete Collection rerelease being in 2007. Its original DVDs have aged rather poorly, as they are notorious...
review

That Wolf-Boy is Mine! GN 4

This sweet shojo love story comes to a charming conclusion, as love triangles resolve without getting too hairy. Rebecca Silverman reflects on if this romance is worth reading. ― One of the best things about a short series is that they end. That may sound a bit too obvious to merit stating, but a short-and-sweet series, if done right, can be incredibly fulfilling. That's the case with Yoko Nogiri's T...
review

Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant GN

This behind-the-scenes look at the clean-up effort following the Fukushima disaster is rich with narrative and artistic detail. Theron Martin explains what makes this biographical manga so unique. ― Manga is so typically a disposable entertainment form that it can be easy to lose sight of how compelling a format it can be when devoted to serious, non-dramatized nonfiction accounts. This is just such ...
review

There's a Demon Lord On the Floor GN 1

This supernatural workplace comedy takes on a fun premise that manages to avoiding some of the more tired aspects of its genres, even if it doesn't stand out much either. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Think The Devil is a Part-Timer meets Working!!. There's a Demon Lord on the Floor's first volume introduces a story that feels very much like a combination of those other two series' premises – ...
review

Paying to Win in a VRMMO Novels 1 & 2

These first two novels have fun playing with the idea of the ridiculously overpowered protagonist from stories like Sword Art Online. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Prepare to have a new definition for the overpowered hero. Ichiro Tsuwabuki, leading man of Blitz Kiva's light novel series Paying to Win in a VRMMO, is nearly as perfect as a man can get. He's filthy rich, he once had successful ca...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Blu-Ray

This fantasy light novel adaptation may never fully answer the question in its title, but it does capture the adventuring spirit of RPG gaming. Theron Martin explores this Dungeon's depths. ― The full title of this 2015 series (mercifully shortened to DanMachi) is arguably misleading, since it immediately inverts this supposed premise, and Bell never actually tries to pick up girls in a Dungeon. Howe...
review

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Novel 1

This isekai story attempts to spice things up with a 30-year old protagonist instead of the usual high school hero, but does it stand out otherwise? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― How many more “guys taken to a parallel world that functions like an MMORPG” stories can we really take? That's a question that more than one of us may very well be asking at this point; even if the genre is hardly new, it ...
review

Piacevole: My Italian Cooking Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Does this bite-sized cooking anime have the chops to stand alongside fan favorites like Food Wars or Sweetness and Lightning? Rose Bridges finds out if Piacevole is worth your time. ― I love a good cooking anime as much as the next food-loving otaku. Feature-length anime must manage to have their cake and eat it too by pleasing food lovers with delicious cooking scenes and recipes, but also working i...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 6

The Ancient Magus’ Bride settles into a comfortable rhythm as Chise’s circle of friends expands around the holiday season. Nick Creamer has the details. ― At this point, The Ancient Magus' Bride has thoroughly explored the nature of the bond between Chise and Elias. The two of them are vaguely codependent in a way that isn't necessarily good or bad for either, but could easily spell trouble depending...
review

Kizumonogatari III: Reiketsu-hen

The Kizumonogatari trilogy comes to an end, as Araragi finally cements his fate for the many Monogatari stories to follow. Nick Creamer breaks down this final film's highs and lows. ― We generally have certain expectations regarding endings. We expect, if not happiness, at least some sense of finality. Some kind of closure to a story's dramatic journey. We have followed characters through some clear ...
review

Super Lovers Seasons 1 & 2 Streaming

This BL anime's triple-taboo premise left most viewers balking, but is there anything in Super Lovers worth watching? Rebecca Silverman has the answers. ― Super Lovers is not an inherently terrible show. As with all romances, it's important to remember that this is a type of fantasy, and what one consumer finds appealing on that level is liable to turn another off, just as some people prefer dark fan...
review

Key the Metal Idol - Complete OVA Series DVD

Idol series may be all the rage nowadays, but Key's idol adventure from 1994 is unlike any other. Take a trip back in time with Theron Martin to discover what makes this unusual series so special. ― In many respects, Key the Metal Idol is an aberration of an anime series. It was released as an OVA of 13 standard episodes between 1994 and 1996, followed by two movie-length episodes released in 1997. I...
review

UQ Holder! GN 8

This shonen manga coasts through a training arc volume with the usual ups and downs. Nick Creamer investigates. ― The first couple chapters of UQ Holder's eighth volume are a fairly cruel bait-and-switch. We open with Tota and his friends on the precipice of a grand martial arts tournament, winning fights and earning bruises and slowly getting stronger. Then, just when it seems we might be segueing i...
review

Clockwork Planet GN 1

Clockwork Planet's brand-new anime adaptation may be getting mixed reviews, but how does its manga version hold up? Rebecca Silverman finds out what makes this story tick. ― Clockwork Planet comes to us from the same author who created No Game, No Life, but the similarities are fairly sparse, limited mostly to the fact that the protagonist is an otaku. But high school student Naoto isn't into video g...
review

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian DVD

This book-obsessed gothic lolita adventure has a whole lot in common with 2011's Gosick - but should fans of that series check this one out? Theron Martin investigates. ― The Goth loli fad which rose in anime during the 2000s arguably peaked in 2011 with two series: Gosick in the Winter and Spring seasons and this one in the Summer season. The two bear a number of similarities, especially in the main...
review

Don't Be Cruel: Akira Takanashi's Story GN

This boys' love spinoff may not be easily called a “nice” story, but it is a hopeful one. Rebecca Silverman spills the details. ― Technically, you don't need to have read SuBLime's previous releases of Yonezou Nekota's Don't Be Cruel yaoi manga to understand this stand-alone spin-off. Although the protagonists of the main series, Maya and Nemugasa, are both mentioned (Akira is Maya's cousin and Nemug...
review

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Novel 1

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers blends mystery with fantasy in a unique light novel that plays around with the usual tropes in interesting ways. Rebecca Silverman delves deeper. ― Unlike many other fantasy light novels that have seen recent English-language releases, Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers does not take an ordinary guy and transport him to a fantasy world. It doesn't feature just one “chos...
review

Rewrite season 2

This Key anime's first season may have been a bust, but can its second half make up for the disappointment? Theron Martin reveals if things got better for Rewrite or even worse. ― The first season of this Key visual novel adaptation is widely-regarded as a disappointment, partly because of how loosely and poorly it structures the game's story, and partly because it just doesn't come together well in ...
game review

Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City

It's the final piece of DLC for the final Dark Souls game - but does Dave Riley have any energy or spirit left for Dark Souls? The Ringed City puts him to the test. ― The Ringed City opens on a vertiginous sight: a sheer cliffside overlooking a bristling conglomeration of towers and mountain peaks spiraling down as far as the eye can see. Shattered chapels jut horizontally from ruined ground and terr...
review

Martian Successor Nadesico Blu-Ray

It's the 20th anniversary of Martian Successor Nadesico, the sci-fi comedy that lit up otaku back in the 90s, and now the entire franchise is available in one bluray box. But does it still hold up? ― I'm just about old enough to remember when Martian Successor Nadesico became a thing; someone carried the first fansub VHS into an anime club screening back in the late 90s (the first tape featured only ...
review

Nichijou Sub.Blu-Ray + DVD

After many long years in licensing limbo, this fan favorite comedy is finally available on a modest Blu-ray release. Nick Creamer explains just what makes this series so special. ― Nichijou's had a rough ride making it over here. First produced in 2011, it was initially slated for release by Bandai Entertainment, before Bandai shut down their Western release arm. Stuck in limbo ever since, it's been ...
review

Kemono Friends Episodes 1-12 Streaming

How did Kemono Friends go from panned kiddie show to the biggest meme and unexpected hit of the last season? Nick Creamer reveals the secrets of Japari Park. ― I'll get this out of the way right at the start: Kemono Friends is not a beautiful show. Combining relatively pleasant painted backgrounds with jarring, simplistic CG characters, it's not going to be winning any best art or animation awards. T...
review

Boruto - Naruto Next Generations GN 1

Naruto and Hinata’s son, Boruto Uzumaki, tackles the Chūnin exams while struggling to connect to his famous father in this manga behind this season's brand-new Naruto sequel! ― By and large, the first volume of the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations manga matches about the first half of the the Boruto: Naruto the Movie film released in 2015. This isn't entirely surprising, given the manga's writer, Ukyo...
review

Water Dragon's Bride GN 1

This unusually dark fantasy romance is a good read for fairytale fans who want an escape with a little more bite to it. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― As readers of Rei Toma's previously translated series Dawn of the Arcana know, she writes fantasy with teeth. The Water Dragon's Bride (not to be confused with the manhwa series Bride of the Water God, although there are some similarities) is not a char...
review

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

We've endured the hype for months, and the film is finally here, so we asked author Brian Ruh to tell us: is the live-action Ghost in the Shell any good? The answer is complicated. ― “Hack your own brain!” I remember sitting in a movie theater in 1995, legs bouncing from the adrenaline of excitement, ready to take in a screening of Johnny Mnemonic. I had been waiting for this film for a long time, an...
review

Your Name. (English Dub)

Gabriella Ekens breaks down how Your Name. works as a culmination of Makoto Shinkai's career and why it became such a megahit in this first look at Funimation's english dub release! ― I feel like I've been waiting to be impressed by Makoto Shinkai. That's not to say that his previous work has been bad. It's just been a bit aimless, repetitive, or overwhelmed by a tendency to wallow in his signature a...
game review

Review: Persona 5

Can this highly anticipated JRPG live up to the legacy of its predecessors? Dave Riley explores what new innovations Persona 5 brings to the table. ― Even though it's five hours before the game slips the tutorial reins and lets you loose in a full-on dungeon, Persona 5's opening grips you immediately and doesn't let go. In contrast to the milquetoast player-inserts of games past, this player-characte...
review

Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl GN 1

This yuri romance's first volume has some significant issues up front, but it also have the potential to improve. Rebecca Silverman explains. ― It has been a good few months for fans of yuri manga, and Kiss and White Lily for my Dearest Girl marks Yen Press' foray into the genre, at least in the subgenre of schoolgirl romance. Set at the all girls' academy Seiran, the story follows former top student...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 6: Dawn of the Golden Witch Volume 2 GN 14

Erika takes a new tack in this middle volume of three omnibuses. It's a good development, but the book has some overall pacing issues. ― Sometimes having the shoe on the other foot can work wonders. Other times, it can make us complacent. That seems to be the major factor at play here in the middle volume of Umineko: When They Cry's sixth arc, Dawn of the Golden Witch - with Battler having switched s...
review

Species Domain GN 1

Fairy changelings aren't a common subject for manga set in high school, but Species Domain's unique take on the idea is well worth a read. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― The literature of changelings, fairy children left in exchange for more desirable human ones, has deep roots, with some theorizing that the stories were developed to explain children born with birth defects or conditions like A...
review

Spirits & Cat Ears GN 1

Its story may not hold much weight under the surface, but if you're looking for kitty cosplay and bondage in a light romance, Spirits & Cat Ears is a breezy read. ― If you're a fan of Inu x Boku SS, Miyuki Nakayama's Spirits & Cat Ears is here to fill in for its absence. It's something of a spiritual successor to that series, with similar art and character relationships – not so similar that it feels...
review

Erased [Hardcover] GN 1

Erased's first omnibus gives us a lot more detail than its animated adaptation as it kicks off the time travel mystery. ― We all have that incident, the one we wish we could change. It might be a tiny little statement or a major catastrophe; whatever it is, there's a vague wish that we could relive the moment in order to prevent it from happening, a certainty that if that one thing changed, everythin...
review

Assassination Classroom Season 2 BD+DVD

The pacing is rushed as Assassination Classroom hustles towards its endgame, but even that can't really bring this series down. ― With the March deadline for Koro-sensei's assassination looming ever-closer, the stakes are getting higher for Class E. But what does that mean, exactly? Yes, they're running out of time to kill their tentacled teacher, but they're also going to have to somehow make a chan...
review

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Novel 1

The isekai genre goes from swords and sorcery to pencils and paper pushing in this story about an economics student summoned to a fantasy world who becomes a very different kind of hero. ― Have you ever wondered why more of those heroes and heroines summoned to other worlds don't put their knowledge of modern life to work? Sure, in some stories the characters don't have that luxury thanks to convenie...
review

Magia the Ninth GN 1 & 2

Magia the Ninth makes a valiant effort to combine classical music and exorcist action, but it stumbles more than succeeds in these poorly paced volumes. Rebecca Silverman explains what went wrong. ― They say that music soothes the savage beast, but rarely is that taken quite so literally as in Ichiya Sazanami's two-volume manga series Magia the Ninth. The premise of the story will be vaguely familiar...
review

Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water [Limited Edition] Blu-Ray 3

Things heat up both at the Festa and behind the scenes in the third quarter of The Asterisk War. Rebecca Silverman dives back into this magic high school harem. ― Occasionally, I have to wonder if anyone in this series know what the word “fair” means? Granted, that's likely a purposeful question, since the series follows the grand old tradition of dystopian young adult fiction by pitting teens agains...
review

Anonymous Noise GN 1

Anonymous Noise is a solid reminder of why shoujo romance can be such angsty good fun. Rebecca Silverman shares what to expect before its anime adaptation comes out this spring! ― Get out your love calculators, everyone, because Anonymous Noise looks like it will have the most complicated love geometry since Marmalade Boy. The basic premise of the story sets heroine Nino Arisugawa up with two potenti...
review

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Novels 1 & 2

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash's original novels aren't as introspective as their anime adaptation, but they still fray the edges of the isekai genre in interesting ways. Rebecca Silverman explains. ― Other-world stories (or isekai) have become familiar to consumers of Japanese light novels, and they rarely seem to come with grave consequences for their protagonists, at least not always life-or-death one...
review

Ninja Slayer From Animation BD+DVD

YEEEART! Ninja Slayer has come swooping onto Blu-ray, but does this "so bad it's good" comedy play out as well as Studio Trigger intended? Nick Creamer finds out. ― To find Ninja Slayer's stylistic progenitors, it's best to look outside of anime altogether, not to film or literature, but to another proud legacy of cheaply constructed comedy television - Adult Swim. With its unmoving cutout characters...
game review

Review: NieR: Automata

Androids battle alien machines for control of Earth in a boldly strange action game that loves to mess with your head. Todd Ciolek has the details. ― It's important to know that NieR: Automata does not hate you, the player. NieR: Automata very easily could, after all. Yoko Taro's Drakengard titles are vicious creations, and Drakengard 3 remains a fascinatingly savage mockery of violent games and play...
review

Shomin Sample BD+DVD

This forgotten harem series from 2015 gets off to a rough start right out of the gate, but does it build into anything worthwhile? Theron Martin takes a closer look. ― Contending with dumb premises goes hand-in-hand with being an anime fan, but the concept behind this light novel adaptation from 2015 (whose title has mercifully been shortened from I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Samp...
review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Limited Edition Part 2

Originally adapted as "Sailor Moon R", these episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal cover a seriously beloved storyline. Rebecca Silverman finds out if they do it justice. ― As the adaptation of the original manga's second story arc, known in the original anime as Sailor Moon R and in the manga as the Black Moon arc, Sailor Moon Crystal's second set of episodes introduces not only new villains, but a new Sa...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket DVD

This 10th anniversary Gundam OVA is the first project not written by Tomino, but it's a fan favorite for a reason. Lauren Orsini explains what makes these six episodes so special. ― Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket was the first Gundam story not to be written or directed by Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino. Instead, this OVA was penned by Hiroyuki Yamaga, a founding member of Studio Gainax, ...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Sword Oratoria Novel 2

This spinoff novel just might be required reading for DanMachi fans, as it reveals new secrets about the main series' story. Theron Martin breaks down the details. ― I called the first Sword Oratoria spin-off novel “highly recommended reading for any fan of the franchise”, but this one jumps up to mandatory reading by adding so many extra details and clarifications to both the franchise at large and ...
review

Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale

Sword Art Online jumps from the small screen to the big screen and in the meantime swaps out virtual reality for augmented reality. Theron Martin lets us know how it all turned out. ― Unlike previous animation for the franchise, Ordinal Scale is not even partially based on the source novels by Reki Kawahara. It is, instead, an original work penned by Kawahara specifically for this movie. As a result,...
review

Digimon Adventure tri. Episodes 14-17 Streaming

After months of speculation, the fourth installment of Digimon Tri finally reveals all the story's biggest secrets, but are these answers worth the wait? Jacob Chapman finds out. ― This may not be as fascinating to the average Digimon fan as it was to me, but in all of Tri. - Sōshitsu's baffling and disappointing glory, it just so happened to exemplify the crucial difference between "plot" and "story...
review

Cyborg 009 Call of Justice

Netflix's new CG version of this long-enduring franchise is fully accessible to newcomers, though the CG's visual style may not work for everyone. ― Cyborg 009 is one the most enduring of all modern Japanese entertainment franchises, with its original manga dating to 1964 and a number of anime and game productions scattered over the more than half-century since that time. The most recent effort, 2016...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack Blu-Ray

One of the most memorable classics in Tomino's Universal Century canon has finally come to Blu-ray, and Lauren Orsini is ready to strap in and see how it holds up in high definition. ― This movie is the culmination of the 14-year-old rivalry between Char Aznable and Amuro Ray, but it may be difficult to stay focused on this point, seeing as much of this movie is told from the perspective of a charact...
review

Review: Magic Knight Rayearth Blu-Ray

The mid-90s classic comes to Blu-ray for the first time, but has this wild genre mashup held up after 20 years of other shojo fantasy adventures have come and gone? Theron Martin has the answers. ― Ready for your next big '90s nostalgia burst? While calling this one of the classic titles of the '90s might be debatable, Magic Knight Rayearth was definitely among the more prominent titles in the Americ...
review

My Little Sister Can Read Kanji Novel 1

This odd sci fi parody of light novel tropes might be too crass for some readers, but there's definitely some laughs to be had for big fans of the genre. Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms defines “parody” as a mocking imitation of the style of a literary work, noting that it is related to burlesque in its use of serious language for ridiculous subjects ...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam F91

This unloved stepchild of the UC timeline bears some striking similarities to Star Wars along with Gundam series of the past, but is it worth a look after all these years? Lauren Orsini investigates. ― Mobile Suit Gundam F91 has a runtime of about 115 minutes, but a mere two hours wasn't always the story's intention. In fact, Mobile Suit Gundam F91 was initially meant to be a 52-episode series. React...
review

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess GN 1

Twilight Princess' first volume works both as a stand-alone fantasy for non-gamers and as an expansion of the story for those who have played the game. ― Gamers will already be familiar with the basics of this latest manga adventure of Link. Based on the 2006 adventure game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is spun off from an alternate path of the earlier game Wind Waker, and stars a darker, o...
review

Garo Season Two: Crimson Moon BD+DVD

This spiritual followup to Garo The Animation has a rocky reputation to say the least, but is there anything worth watching in this compromised production? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― Garo: Crimson Moon is the second anime adventure revolving around a tokusatsu suit of golden armor that might best be compared to the recurring Italian cinema character of Maciste, a hero who simply appears randomly ...
review

Wolf's Rain BD+DVD

After well over a decade out of the limelight, does this notoriously ambitious fantasy classic still have some bite in it? Jacob Chapman weighs in on this critical darling from 2003. ― As Wolf's Rain finally arrives on Blu-ray at the respectable age of 14 (surviving a decade in anime fan memory is no small feat!), the series may stand out for a reputation that can only be called "emotionally paradoxi...
review

Rurouni Kenshin Part III: The Legend Ends BD+DVD

The final Kenshin film finds success in its terrific action, even if the trilogy is starting to look a little long in the tooth. ― Film trilogies are a tricky thing. It's relatively easy to make a single film with a coherent story - when a single work both introduces and concludes all of a story's narrative variables, you can create a sense of tight congruity throughout. But when a story is split acr...
review

GANTZ:O

There may not be much to the story, but the sharp CG more than makes the experience in this Gantz splatterfest. Theron Martin digs deeper. ― The Gantz franchise has gone through three iterations over the past 17 years: manga, anime series, and a pair of live-action movies. Now its fourth version comes in a 3D CG movie from 2016, which has recently become available on Netflix. But this isn't any garde...
review

My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World Novel 1

This wide-ranging parody of chuunibyou tropes pushes the envelope in some eyebrow-raising ways, but it's still bound to offer otaku fans a fun read. ― Whether you have a weird sibling or are the weird sibling, families often have dynamics that can feel odd to an outside perspective. In the case of Yuichi Sakaki's family in My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World, his older sister Mutsuko suffers from ...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 5

Both the visual ambition and depth of story in the Ancient Magus's Bride take a leap forward in this memorable volume. ― The Ancient Magus' Bride's recent volumes have been reasonably focused affairs, prioritizing Chise and Elias' collective character development over the whimsical vignettes of the manga's early chapters. This fifth volume marks a return to episodic storytelling, as the leannan sidhe...
review

The Great Passage Episodes 1-11 Streaming

After lingering in licensing limbo for many months, The Great Passage is finally available streaming! Gabriella Ekens explores whether this uniquely low-key drama is worth watching. ― Before it fell victim to the Amazon anime hostage crisis of Fall 2016, The Great Passage was one of my most anticipated shows of that season. Based on an acclaimed novel, airing in the celebrated Noitamina programming b...
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Interviews With Monster Girls GN 1 & 2

Interviews With Monster Girls is more charming than not, even as its harem elements trip it up on occasion. ― There's almost no way to phrase the premise of this series without it sounding creepy. High school biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi has always been fascinated by the human variations straight out of mythology known as demi-humans, but he had to give up writing his thesis on them in university...
review

Sword of the Stranger BD+DVD

Sword of the Stranger offers a nearly perfect action package. ― Sword of the Stranger is something of a wonderful oddity. Bearing no source material or spinoff potential, it's one of those rare anime-original films that offer an unfiltered vision of a creator or even studio. Blessed with gorgeous art design and animation, it offers an incredibly pure distillation of precisely one thing: the classic s...
game review

Review: Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

Berserk: Band of the Hawk lets you slaughter your way through Guts' most traumatic adventures in classic Musou style - but it isn't without its problems. ― By now, the formula for Omega Force's increasingly prolific line of Musou anime adaptions has proven to be a mostly winning one. Take the basic Dynasty Warriors gameplay, replace Chinese historical figures with an array of fan-favorite characters,...
review

Seven Deadly Sins -Signs of Holy War-

This four-episode "second season" of Seven Deadly Sins popped up on Netflix - how does it move the story forward, and is it any good? Theron Martin investigates. ― Although this is (correctly) labeled as a TV series, that label can be misleading in this case, as it implies that it consists of more than just four episodes. That is clearly all that it was planned for, however, so what Netflix is listin...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 4

The Ancient Magus’ Bride continues to find wonder in both its central romance and its magical world. Nick Creamer digs into the details. ― While Ancient Magus' Bride's first and second volumes focused primarily on the magical world surrounding Chise and Elias, the manga's third volume turned inward, highlighting the emotional baggage that inspires both of their actions. This fourth volume essentially...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt GN 1

With gorgeous art and bonus details left out of the anime version, the only thing missing from this Gundam Thunderbolt manga is the soundtrack. Lauren Orsini weighs its pros and cons. ― “To all you music lovers out there—no borders, no war. You're tuned to Thunderbolt Station, the pirate radio of freedom!” There's no shortage of work hazards out in the Thunderbolt Sector, where Federation and Zeon so...
review

God Eater Blu-Ray 2

God Eater's story starts slipping as it moves into its middle third. Rebecca Silverman explains what went wrong. ― Answers always come with a price. Sometimes it's simply learning something you really didn't want to know, other times, it's the destruction of humanity and the entire world. If that seems like an extreme comparison, it's deliberate – the second half of the God Eater anime takes its burn...
review

Faraway Paladin Novel 1 - The Boy in the City of the Dead

The Faraway Paladin eschews most of the usual light novel tropes to tell a story with plenty of appeal for fantasy fans. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Fantasy light novels have a deserved reputation for following the tropes of MMORPGs so closely as to feel like game novelizations rather than stand-alone fantasy fiction. With most of them falling under the heading of isekai, or “transportation to a pa...
review

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse Novel 1

The harem genre gets an entertaining parody in this novel about a boy who finds out that he's the last resort of heroines everywhere. ― How many harem titles you have consumed over the course of your anime hobby is likely to determine how funny you find this book. I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse is a straight send-up of the genre, and while it also adheres to a lot of the conventions...

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