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review

Generation Witch GN 1

These episodic adventures of modern, everyday witches are charming if a little light on lasting impact. Theron Martin delves into Generation Witch. ― Witches as commonly portrayed in anime and manga – flying around on a broomstick sporting a long pointy hat – are decidedly a Western phenomenon, but that hasn't prevented them from popping up in Japanese media on a regular basis over the years. Generat...
review

No Game, No Life Zero

Despite being a far-flung film prequel to its source material, No Game No Life Zero might just outshine the original TV series. Kim Morrissy breaks down what makes this movie shine. ― No Game No Life Zero isn't like the No Game No Life you've seen before. It takes all the interesting themes of the original TV series and peels away all the fanservice and frivolities, resulting in a tonally different n...
review

Kimi no Koe o Todoketai

Those looking forward to Studio Madhouse's first original movie in years may find themselves disappointed by this sweet yet ultimately clumsy film. Kim Morrissy has the details from its theatrical run in Japan. ― The first thing that you need to know about this film is that it very explicitly revolves around the Shinto concept of kotodama. The word translates literally to “the spirit of words” and re...
review

Assassination Classroom Season 2 Part 2 BD+DVD

Class E's tutelage under Koro-sensei comes to an end, and Rebecca Silverman picks up the pieces. Was this series finale everything its premise promised? ― Mild Spoiler Warning for the series' last quarter: We can't say we didn't know how this was going to end. It's right there in the title - Assassination Classroom. From episode one, it's been said that when the end of the series came, so would the e...
review

Dimension W Limited Edition

Dimension W was intended to be the next action anime darling on Toonami, so where did it go wrong? Nick Creamer takes a look at the special edition release for answers. ― Dimension W was intended to be a pretty big deal. As one of very few shows chosen to air simultaneously on Japanese television and Toonami, and the first to be co-produced by Funimation, its origins were nothing if not optimistic. T...
review

Napping Princess

Director Kenji Kamiyama's first family film reaches for the stars and the audience's heartstrings all at once, but does it succeed? Rose Bridges has the answers straight from its screening at AnimeFest! ― Did you ever wonder what a Mamoru Hosoda-style story would be like if it were directed by Kenji Kamiyama of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East? That's basically the easiest...
review

Sound! Euphonium: Welcome to the Kitauji High School Concert Band Novel

Does this original novel still hold up against Kyoto Animation's high-gloss adaptation? Nick Creamer compares these two versions. ― I'm not particularly precious about adaptations myself. Even if I liked a particular work's source material, I understand that different mediums have different strengths, so a great adaptation won't necessarily prioritize the same things I love in the original. This exte...
review

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Novel 4

The novel series begins the exploration of grief that defined its anime adaptation, as the party struggles to recover from another death. Rebecca Silverman delves deeper. ― If you watched the anime version of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, chances are you remember the extended exploration of the grieving process following the death of Manato. In the novels, his passing was treated with much less detail,...
review

Kigurumi Guardians GN 1

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself saving the world with a six-foot-tall plush mascot who lives in your room and transforms into a hot guy? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― Somewhere in between the magical girl and the super sentai team are the Kigurumi Guardians. There's transforming – but it's not done by the girls. There's a team of diverse characters – but they don't really work toget...
game review

Warriors All-Stars

This colorful cast of characters spanning a dozen different Tecmo titles have come together for a crossover musou extravaganza! Dustin Bailey finds out if the gameplay can fulfill its promising premise. ― Tecmo has a deceptively large roster of franchises. There's the big stuff, like the Warriors games, Dead or Alive, and Ninja Gaiden. There's more niche RPGs and weird action hybrids like Atelier, Ni...
game review

Review - One Piece: Unlimited World Red

The PS4 version of this combat-based collect-a-thon is just one of many available on nearly every console and even PC! Sam Leach finds out if the most accessible One Piece game is worth playing. ― Unlimited World Red Deluxe is a re-release of the 2013 game originally made for the 3DS, the most recent in a series of One Piece “Unlimited” games. At this point, Red is out for nearly all Sony and Nintend...
review

Kumamiko Sub BD/DVD

This charming story of a country bumpkin and her talking bear friend ended on a surprisingly sour note. Theron Martin deduces whether or not it's still worth watching. ― In recent years, there have been a spate of anime comedies and slice-of-life emphasizing rural life in Japan. This manga adaptation from the Spring 2016 season squarely falls into that category. It's also a forerunner to the more rec...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky Blu-Ray

This passionate and shocking entry in the UC canon will make a strong visual impression on Gundam fans, but its emotional resonance is a little shakier. Lauren Orsini has the details. ― “Even as we curse war, we become more and more obsessed with it.” Io Fleming's line near the end of the film puts the whole story of Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky into perspective. War hasn't done Flemi...
review

And You Thought There Is Never A Girl Online? BD/DVD

This harem comedy's MMO-obsessed heroine could be a love-or-hate dealbreaker for this light novel adaptation. Rebecca Silverman ponders the problem of Ako. ― There are probably many worse problems to have than marring a decent show with one persistently awful character, but I was hard pressed to think of anything worse while watching And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online. Based on a light nove...
review

Akaoni: Contract with a Vampire Novel 1

This light novel aimed at female readers gives us a relatable heroine coping with her new vampire-filled reality. Rebecca Silverman explores this supernatural romance's ups and downs. ― Although light novels have really taken off in English recently, there's still a dearth of books targeted at a specifically female readership. That's a gap that Cross Infinite World looks to fill, and Akaoni: Contract...
review

Hana & Hina After School GNs 1-2

Milk Morinaga continues her reign as the queen of sweet yuri romance with this charming new tale of two co-workers falling for each other. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― It truly is hard to top Milk Morinaga when it comes to sweet yuri romance, and Hana & Hina After School is another excellent example of why. Combining yearning, friendship, and social concerns with art that is both cute and sensual, th...
review

Record of Lodoss War OVA + Chronicles Of The Heroic Knight TV

The franchise that set over a decade of standards for fantasy RPG anime is finally available on Blu-ray for the first time! Theron Martin finds out if this tabletop classic has stood the test of time. ― Over the last 26 years, several fantasy anime have come along to exceed Record of Lodoss War on technical or storytelling merits. Despite this, no anime series more truly deserves to be called the def...
review

Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters Blu-Ray Part Two

The Final Chapters continue as Goku and Vegeta hash out their long awaited rematch and the evil Majin Buu awakens from his slumber to seal the Earth's doom. Sam Leach has the details on this blu-ray release. ― The further along we get into the Buu saga of DBZ Kai, the more it amazes me. I had unending enthusiasm for Part One of The Final Chapters—I found the tournament and early Babidi stuff to be a ...
review

Code Geass: Akito the Exiled BD+DVD

Akito the Exiled is a world apart from the original hit series, but its own take on Lelouch's world still has its own milder charms. Nick Creamer discovers this other side of the Code Geass universe. ― The original Code Geass was a juggernaut of a franchise, a thrilling war drama predicated on an array of core strengths. Those strengths began with Lelouch, a simple teen born in a difficult time, a ma...
review

Little Witch Academia—Episodes 14-25 Streaming

Studio Trigger's newest series trades in its episodic format for a driving main plotline in a truly magical second half. Rebecca Silverman finishes this anime out with a bang! ― If the first half of Little Witch Academia was about introducing the colorful characters and the zany adventures of Akko, this second half tries to put all of that development to use through a culmination of the main story. U...
review

Goodnight Punpun GN 7

"The End can mean lots of different things, Punpun." Inio Asano's surreal and challenging manga comes to a close, and Rebecca Silverman tries to pick up all the pieces. ― Spoiler warning for Goodnight Punpun volume 6 Inio Asano's works up through Goodnight Punpun specialize in being difficult. He admits as much in an interview after completing this series, that there's almost a contrariness to the wa...
review

Review: Death Note (2017)

After years of anticipation, this American adaptation of the hit manga thriller is finally available on Netflix! Jacob Chapman breaks down whether this movie is noteworthy or should just be erased. ― After at least four live-action Japanese movies, two TV series (one anime, one live-action), and mountains of spinoff media, Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's gruesome thriller manga is no stranger to the...
review

Gurren Lagann Complete Box Set Blu-Ray

Just in time for its tenth anniversary, Aniplex has released the full Gurren Lagann series + compilation movies on blu-ray! Chris Farris finds out if this anime legend still lives up to its hype. ― Gurren Lagann's reputation echoes far and wide, and even ten years later, that larger-than-life status can make it hard to tell where the hype ends and the series' quality itself begins. Aniplex's new Blu-...
review

Origin: Spirits of the Past BD+DVD

Gonzo's effort to create their own Ghibli adventure strikes more lows than highs. Rebecca Silverman sees if this new release can add anything to a rocky film experience. ― If you already own one of the previous two releases of Gonzo's 2006 film, you probably can skip this new release of it unless you're desperate for a (very pretty) blu ray version. Other than the BD disc, this is literally identical...
review

Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?

Studio SHAFT's summertime romance flick seeks to tug viewer's heartstrings, but does it succeed? Kim Morrissy has the lowdown on a screening straight from Japan. ― Fireworks doesn't start off on its best foot. Its first thirty minutes amble somewhat aimlessly, with its themes never in clear focus. In isolation, there are evocative and striking shots, but the dutch angles and extreme closeups strike a...
game review

Review: Yakuza Kiwami

Can this entry in the Yakuza franchise escape the shadow of its older brother, Yakuza Zero? Dustin Bailey has the answers. ― Kazuma Kiryu. Some call him the “dragon of Dojima,” one of the most legendary fighters the Japanese underworld has ever known. But there's much more to Kiryu than that. He's Kamurocho's toughest boy scott, a righter of wrongs and puncher of faces, the kind of guy who'll help a ...
review

One Piece: Heart of Gold BD+DVD

This special prequel to One Piece Film Gold may not have much going for it compared to other One Piece movies, but there's still some charm to be found if you're eager to go digging. ― Heart of Gold is just one in a string of recent One Piece TV movies, but it's the first to get a home video release from Funimation. The amount of post-time-skip content to get dubbed is slowly growing in North America...
review

School-Live! GN 7

There's a lull in the action as the girls finally make it to St. Isidore University, but there are still plenty of mysteries to be solved in this second post-anime volume. ― Having “graduated” and completed their graduation tour, the girls of the School Living Club have finally arrived at college – St. Isidore University, to be precise, one of the three survivor strongholds listed in the secret manua...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 7

This seventh volume embraces the spiraling extended universe of Elias and Chise's world. Nick Creamer plumbs the depths of these new mysteries. ― The Ancient Magus' Bride's seventh volume opens with the story at its most personal, centering on the relationship that is its heart. Chise has spent long volumes learning from her mentor Elias, but as Elias has come to care for her, he has changed as well....
review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Live-Action Film

Takashi Miike's dark and gritty take on the world of JoJo's might not be everyone's cup of tea, but is it worth watching on its own merits as an action film? Kim Morrissy finds out. ― Live-action adaptations of manga tend to have a poor reputation, often criticized for their cheesy acting and amateur-looking special effects. Not all live-action adaptations fall into these pitfalls, however, and some ...
review

Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters Blu-Ray Part One

The last arc of DBZ's story finally gets its chance to shine in animation for the first time, as Kai finishes out its run with The Final Chapters. Sam Leach offers his take on the end of the Buu Saga. ― The original run of Dragon Ball Z Kai was a wish come true for me as someone who grew up pretty equally with Funimation's version on TV, as well as the manga. It basically gave me a chance to relive T...
review

Owarimonogatari Second Season

These three episodes bring the sprawling Monogatari franchise to a close after eight years of adventures. Nick Creamer finds out whether Araragi's (supposed) last gasp can stick the landing. ― The Monogatari franchise has spiraled out over most of a decade now, with new episodes or short films coming out irregularly since 2009. Its story has grown to encompass many smaller stories, its initial focus ...
review

One Piece Film Gold BD+DVD

The newest, loudest, and flashiest One Piece movie is finally out on Blu-Ray! Sam Leach takes a wild ride through the movie's ups and downs, along with some zany bonus features. ― If there's one thing that Toei Animation irrefutably puts a ton of effort into, it's the theatrical One Piece movies. Ever since Strong World, these films have had manga author Eiichiro Oda playing the role of at least Exec...
review

Gundam Wing: The Glory of Losers Volume 1

While its art is beautiful, this manga's unreasonably abbreviated story may leave fans scratching their heads. Lauren Orsini has the details. ― Earlier this year, Vertical, Inc. announced that it had acquired the license to Gundam Wing: The Glory of Losers to much fanfare. Following its previous, highly successful release of the 12-part Gundam: The Origin manga, it'd be no wonder if fans expected mor...
review

Waiting for Spring GN 1

Waiting for Spring's first volume takes the "high school debut" story in a different direction for a story that's both grounded and fluffy all in one. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― “Reinventing” yourself in high school is a popular trope in manga, and one made possible by the fact that where you go to high school in Japan isn't necessarily dictated by where you live. Unlike many of her shoujo sisters,...
review

My Hero Academia GN 9

My Hero Academia’s ninth volume delivers an ensemble fight that’s thrilling from start to finish. Nick Creamer gets in on the action. ― Volume eight of My Hero Academia was a transition phase, as the story continued to detail the fallout of the Hero Killer Stain incident, as well as set up various pieces for the next arcs. Based on the early pages of this volume, you might think we'd be moving into t...
review

WWW.WAGNARIA!! Volume 1 Blu-Ray

The first half of this Wagnaria spinoff never quite rises to the level of its franchise sibling, but it comes close enough to be worth a look. Paul Jensen takes a look at the blu-ray release. ― WWW.Wagnaria is a spinoff of the long-running workplace comedy Wagnaria, but only in the loosest sense of the word. It's set at another location in the same chain of restaurants, but the story and characters a...
review

Sailor Moon S Part 2 Blu-Ray + DVD

The second half of Sailor Moon season 3 might be more uneven than you remember, but there's still a good story hiding under the confused pacing. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Usagi has never really been a fighter. She does fight as Sailor Moon, and she's willing to do what she has to in order to keep everyone safe, but ultimately, the former Princess and future Neo Queen would rather resolve t...
review

Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu Blu-Ray

This provocative middle entry in the Kizumonogatari trilogy has finally landed on Blu-Ray! Nick Creamer revisits Araragi's hyperviolent origin story with all of Aniplex's bonus content. ― The key moment of Kizumonogatari Nekketsu comes after its second battle, after Araragi has just faced the half-vampire, Episode. Episode is defeated and almost killed, but Araragi can't relish the victory. Instead, ...
review

Samurai Warriors DVD

This musou game adaptation hews slightly closer to history than many of its contemporaries, but is its action good enough to be worth watching? Theron Martin has the answers. ― The 2015 TV series Samurai Warriors and its predecessor, the 2014 TV special Legend of the Sanadai, are both adaptations of the fighting game Samurai Warriors 4, released together on DVD from Funimation. All of the major chara...
game review

Hey! Pikmin

Captain Olimar touches down on the 3DS in the first portable Pikmin adventure. Dustin Bailey finds out if shrinking down the action affects the experience. ― Up until now, the adventures of Captain Olimar have seen him and a legion little plant people called Pikmin in a long-term battle for survival, racing against the clock or dwindling food reserves to gather the materials necessary to repair the l...
review

If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord Novel 1

This fantasy twist on the single-dad-raising-a-daughter story is sweet and unique enough to be worth reading. Rebecca Silverman digs into this unusual title. ― Single dad stories have basically become their own subgenre at this point, although mostly they tend to be set in the here and now and focus on the struggles of a single man trying to raise a daughter. That's still true of If It's for My Daugh...
review

Combat Baker and His Automaton Waitress Novel 1

If you're tired of isekai stories or teen comedies, this is a good light novel to check out for a change of pace. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Strange, overlong, or simply bizarre light novel titles have certainly become de rigeur, but even though we all at this point know better than to judge a series by its title, every so often that's still hard to do. But just like Is It Wrong to Try to P...
game review

Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy

Layton passes his puzzle-solving prowess down to his daughter for the franchise's mobile game debut. Is it worth a look for Professor Layton fans and casual puzzle game players? ― The latest Professor Layton game opens with its most compelling mystery. Young Katrielle Layton endures a dream where she chases after her father, who vanishes into a dense London fog. Is Professor Hershel Layton, the didac...
review

Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry

This Fairy Tail movie bridges the gap between story arcs beautifully, but you'll have to be caught up to follow the action. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Before you go to see Fairy Tail Dragon Cry, the most recent film based on Hiro Mashima's Fairy Tail manga, you need to ask yourself how you feel about spoilers. The movie's plot canonically slots in between the two final story arcs of the ser...
review

GATE Limited Edition BD+DVD

Both seasons of the JSDF's adventures fighting dragons in another world are now available in this special edition ammo box. Theron Martin delves into the series' strengths and weaknesses for military otaku and general viewers. ― In 2013 the anime series Outbreak Company presented a story about Japan discovering a gate to a fantasy world, establishing peaceful contact with an empire on the other side,...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin: Chronicle Of Char And Sayla Collection

These four movies fill in some longstanding blanks of the series while also serving as a polished introduction to the franchise for newcomers. Lauren Orsini delves into Char's story. ― Gundam: The Origin initially was released in North America as a 12-part manga, which Rebecca Silverman praised as “well-written, nicely illustrated, and full of interesting characters.” The collection quickly rocketed ...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride—Episodes 1-3

Following its one-night-only premiere in theaters, Theron Martin reveals if The Ancient Magus' Bride is worth the hype. ― Kore Yamazaki's highly-regarded manga The Ancient Magus' Bride is set to air on Japanese TV (and stream on Crunchyroll) in the Fall 2017 season, but its first three episodes actually made their debut at 2017's Anime Expo, followed by a worldwide screening in theaters, courtesy of ...
review

Sekirei GN 1

If you don't mind sci fi in your fanservice manga or boobs in your science fiction, Sekirei's first volume is a fun read with significant story potential. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Sakurako Gokurakuin's Sekirei manga was previously published digitally before getting its print release this year, two years after the series finished its 2004-2015 run. Both of those facts may be part of the re...
review

Vampire Knight Memories GN 1

This collection of vignettes recounts the continuing adventures of Vampire Knight's cast as Kaname slumbers. Rebecca Silverman breaks down the best and worst of these epilogue stories. ― The main story of Vampire Knight left us with the basic idea that Yuki and Zero would end up together while Kaname slept in a case of ice for a thousand years, and that, essentially, life would go on. If that wasn't ...
game review

Review: Splatoon 2

Combine your talents as both kid and squid to ink your way to victory once again! Dustin Bailey finds out if this highly anticipated sequel holds up against the original. ― Two things are true of the Wii U—it was Nintendo's biggest hardware failure since the Virtual Boy, and it served as a home for some of the most fun, original games the company has ever produced. When the Switch came along to deliv...
review

High School Life of a Fudanshi GN 1

This first volume about the life of a BL-loving straight boy struggles to be funny without too much cruelty. Rebecca Silverman weighs this comedy's pros and cons. ― If you distill it down to its most basic message, The High School Life of a Fudanshi is about all of the issues that come with being the “wrong” gender for a fandom. That's something plenty of people have experienced, from just not fittin...
review

Garo Season Two: Crimson Moon BD+DVD

Garo's second season never quite manages to redeem itself, resulting in a finale that's difficult to care about. Rebecca Silverman conducts her autopsy. ― It is a sad day when a series' explication takes so long that the monsters themselves get tired of listening to it and just attack. While that's not literally true of Garo: Crimson Moon, it still feels like the best explanation we've got for its ev...
review

Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil

This unusual series combines dark comedy and war drama to shockingly entertaining effect. Nick Creamer delves into Tanya's cynical world. ― Saga of Tanya the Evil's first episode largely confirmed all my worst suspicions regarding the title. Framed from the perspective of a tiny girl who'd somehow risen to officer status within a faux-German military, it seemed to revel in nastiness, playing up the g...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 9

Genshiken seeks to steer its most questionable plot arc into safer waters in its surprisingly thoughtful ninth volume. ― Genshiken Second Season has been a bit of a mess. In contrast with the original series' sensitive and remarkably grounded approach to fandom circles, Second Season has shifted from a promising setup into outright harem comedy territory, its characters moaning about their own cliche...
review

Fate/Apocrypha — Episodes 1-3

While we wait for the newest animated entry in the Fate series to arrive on Netflix, Kim Morrissy has a look at the first three episodes straight from Japan. How does this "Great Grail War" compare to its predecessors? ― Note: While Fate/Apocrypha is not yet available streaming in English, this review comes courtesy of our Tokyo correspondent who watched these first three episodes in Japan. Fate/Apoc...
review

School-Live! Blu-Ray

This one-of-a-kind combination of slice-of-life and horror starts strange and finishes strong. Theron Martin explores just what makes this series so special. ― The first episode of this series is one of the biggest cases of misdirection in anime history, as both the opening theme and first twenty minutes suggest that this is going to be a high-spirited slice-of-life series about schoolgirls. Sure, th...
review

Haruchika: Haruta & Chika BD+DVD

Haruchika is just good enough to set viewers up for disappointment when it fails to deliver on its potential. Rebecca Silverman explains what went wrong. ― There are some shows that tease you with their mediocrity, occasionally showing flashes of, if not brilliance, than at least intrigue before turning around and slumping back into uninteresting and disappointing you all over again. Haruchika is one...
review

Kakegurui — Episodes 1-3

While this psychosexual thriller about high-stakes high school gambling won't be available on Netflix for a few more months, Kim Morrissy's got the scoop on its first three episodes straight from Japan. Is Kakegurui worth hyping up? ― Note: While Kakegurui is not yet available streaming in English, this review comes courtesy of our Tokyo correspondent who watched these first three episodes in Japan. ...
review

Outlaw Star BD+DVD

The '90s action classic has finally arrived on Blu-ray, but have Gene's adventures aboard the Outlaw Star aged gracefully? Chris Farris finds out. ― Outlaw Star occupies an unusual space in western anime fandom. The show ran on Cartoon Network's Toonami block around the turn of the millennium, enjoying repeated success through re-runs of its 26-episode season. It also featured heavily in Toonami's ad...
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Review: Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!

This reimagining of Ash's origins as a Pokemon Trainer in Kanto has the unique opportunity to entertain nostalgic fans and newcomers alike. Callum May finds out if this exciting Pokemon project can stick the landing. ― Aside from the increased production values, Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! is a clearly distinct experience from the original tale. For example, Brock and Misty make no appearance wi...
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Kakegurui GN 1

While you wait around for Netflix to finally release this season's anime adaptation of Kakegurui, Rebecca Silverman can tell you whether the original psychosexual gambling manga is worth reading! ― Do you like to take risks? We're not talking “eat the expired leftovers” type risks, though – more like a “wager $40 million that eating the expired leftovers won't make you sick” situation. If that sounds...
review

Spice & Wolf Novel 18

Spice and Wolf returns after five years for a collection of follow-up short stories, which serve as a bridge to the new upcoming spin-off. Theron Martin has the details. ― Though the main story of Spice and Wolf officially ended with novel 17, author Isuna Hasekura apparently couldn't resist tossing off a few follow-up short stories, which originally appeared on his publisher's home page. These are c...
review

Tokyo Ghoul (Live-Action Film)

Tokyo Ghoul makes the jump from manga to anime to a live-action film. Does the original story's spirit survive the translation? Gabriella Ekens finds out. ― Tokyo Ghoul has been one of the biggest manga hits of the past few years. As these big hits often do, the franchise recently received a live action film adaptation. These types of movies have been a mixed bag in the past, so I didn't harbor many ...
review

Black Butler: The Movie BD+DVD

Can this much darker live-action re-imagining capture the campy magic of the original series? Rose Bridges finds out if this Black Butler movie's got enough bite to be worth a taste. ― You can tell just from that synopsis that we're not in standard Black Butler territory anymore. This live-action film departs from the source material in its very first scene, plunging us into modern-day Japan rather t...
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Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Is this Aiz-focused spinoff worth watching, or does drifting too far from the main story take us too far away from what makes it special? Theron Martin has the answers for devoted DanMachi fans. ― The Sword Oratoria anime is based on a light novel series that is a concurrently-published spin-off of, and complement to, DanMachi, in much the same way that A Certain Scientific Railgun is related to A Ce...
review

Castlevania

Fans of Konami's legendary vampire-slaying game series have waited decades for an adaptation; is Netflix's Castlevania the OVA they've been waiting for? ― I didn't have a particularly compelling reason to keep my expectations high for Netflix's Castlevania adaptation – nobody did, really. I've been in love with Konami's sidescrolling vampire series since it debuted in the 80s and have followed the fr...
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Review: Mary and the Witch's Flower

"If Mary and the Witch's Flower proves one thing, it's that Studio Ghibli has nurtured enough talent to match Miyazaki's raw skill." Our review of Studio Ponoc's first feature is live now. ― “Who will be the next Miyazaki?” is a question that is often asked, but it's yet to receive a satisfying answer. Hayao Miyazaki's personality has dominated the Studio Ghibli brand for so long that it's doubtful t...
review

KanColle: Kantai Collection BD+DVD

The command of the Girls Fleet is yours in this high-concept anime about anthropomorphized WWII battleships; Theron Martin dons his admiral's cap for a closer look. ― The Strike Witches franchise features teenage witches who essentially become anthropomorphized WWII-era fighter planes in an effort to fight off alien invaders. Arpeggio of Blue Steel features young women who are avatars of revamped WWI...
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Vinland Saga GN 8

Vinland Saga continues to be compelling as Thorfinn searches for sponsors for his trip to Vinland and somehow ends up with a dog and a baby instead. ― The violence of Makoto Yukimura's Viking epic Vinland Saga has waned. It was an important factor in hero Thorfinn's early development – without his time with Askeladd and his armies, Thorfinn would never have developed either the ambition that he has t...
review

A Bride's Story GN 8

A Bride's Story takes a more lackadaisical turn for an unexpectedly rejuvenating volume. Nick Creamer pores over this volume's strengths. ― After the high theatrics of the sixth volume battle, volume eight at last returns us to the village of Karluk and Amir. With the danger passed, this volume focuses on the long recovery, as the many members of their village band together to repair the damage to th...
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Little Witch Academia Episodes 1-13 Streaming

Little Witch Academia's first TV season is finally available on Netflix, and it's definitely worth the wait. Rebecca Silverman digs into the details. ― After the usual gap that comes of Netflix licensing a series for streaming, Little Witch Academia's TV series is at last legally available to North American audiences – and it's worth the wait. Loosely based on the two short films of the same name, Li...
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Mobile Suit Gundam MS Igloo Blu-Ray Collection

Lauren Orsini finds out if the Gundam franchise's first foray into full CGI is worth checking out for casual or hardcore Gundam fans and comes away with two very different answers. ― You won't see any dwellings made of ice blocks in Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO, but it turns out that's not the only meaning of the word. In military terms, an “igloo space” is a structure for storing ammunition and explo...
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Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn BD+DVD

This odd combination of Ghost in the Shell and Excel Saga finds itself torn between two flavors that just don't mix. Theron Martin explains what went wrong. ― Ever imagine what a series would look like if it combined cyberpunk trend-setter Ghost in the Shell with wacky comedy series Excel Saga? This Winter 2016 series is the answer in both figurative and literal senses, as it is based on a concept by...
game review

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto

This short - but engaging - Final Fantasy XV side story might not fill you up, but it's much more satisfying than the game's previous DLC. Dustin digs in. ― Final Fantasy XV's DLC didn't get off to a great start. Coming off a tremendously flawed launch where certain aspects of the game—you already know which ones—felt anywhere from “half-baked” to “completely unfinished,” the notion of turning around...
review

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 8

Naofumi gets sent back to start in this volume of Aneko Yusagi's fantasy series when he lands in yet another world with its own set of heroes. ― If the previous volume of Aneko Yusagi's The Rising of the Shield Hero was all about major plot development and finally beginning to understand the hero phenomenon, this book is about getting back to zero – literally in at least one sense. Volume seven ended...
review

Cage of Eden GN 21

Cage of Eden's conclusion is surprisingly unexpected and unfulfilling. Rebecca Silverman explains what went wrong in the final act. ― Spoiler Warning: In order to fully discuss the ending, this review will have spoilers about the final reveal. Most people are familiar with the concept of the Bermuda Triangle. It's a mystical area stretching between Miami, San Juan, and Bermuda, and over the years a n...
review

Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga

The man behind Jojo's Bizarre Adventure shares his tips for creating fiction, whether in comic form or beyond. Rebecca Silverman digs into Araki's wealth of knowledge. ― While there are many components that go into any creative work, arguably one of the major ones to consider is craft. A creator may have outstanding natural ability or imaginative skill, but without a good understanding of the craft o...
review

Shonen Maid BD+DVD

This slightly unusual dramedy about a boy who becomes a maid has much more heart to it than you might think. Theron Martin unearths the hidden charm of Shonen Maid. ― Anime comedies have proven time and again that they can still be successful without purely being lighthearted, and some comedies can even adeptly turn their serious aspects into achingly deep exercises in sentimentality. In that vein, t...
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STARMYU Sub.Blu-Ray + DVD

Is this under-the-radar idol boy show from last year worth a second look? Nick Creamer explains just what's so special about Starmyu. ― Starmyu offers a fairly unusual premise among musical anime. In a sea of shows focused specifically on idols, Starmyu instead presents a high school and special division focused on musical theater, where a student's ability to dance, sing, and also present a characte...
game review

Valkyria Revolution

This spinoff of the beloved tactical RPG series Valkyria Chronicles tries to live up to the sterling reputation of its predecessors, but Dustin finds it might fall a little short. ― Valkyria Revolution is told through the pages of history books. A young historian sets out to find the truth about the Five Traitors who led the nation of Jutland to revolution for their own selfish ends, and with the hel...
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Gangsta. BD+DVD

Gangsta's dark story gets off to an intriguing start before things start to go wrong. Rebecca Silverman digs deeper. ― In ancient Rome, ergastula were pits specifically meant to hold unruly slaves or to punish misbehaving ones. In Gangsta., Ergastulum (the singular form of the word) is a city in an unnamed country that may as well be a pit trap intended to punish the wicked. The world that Worrick, A...
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In Another World With My Smartphone Novel 1

Before its anime adaptation airs next season, is this isekai series worth reading? Rebecca Silverman has the answers. ― If you've ever wondered what exactly Konosuba is making fun of rather than mere genre specifics, take a peek at Patora Fuyuhara's In Another World with My Smartphone. That's not to say that this series is precisely the basis for Natsume Akatsuki's parody, but it is certainly closer ...
review

Kase-san and Morning Glories GN

Shy Yamada falls for school track star Kase-san in the first volume of this sugary-sweet yuri series. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― In the increasingly diverse world of English-language yuri, Hiromi Takashima's Kase-san and Morning Glories stands out as particularly adorable. While it shares some themes with Milk Morinaga's Secret of the Princess in terms of wondering if having a lesbian relat...
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My Monster Secret GN 5

My Monster Secret kicks into high gear with a pair of wild rambling adventures in its fifth volume. Nick Creamer digs into the action. ― The last two volumes of My Monster Secret have seen the manga drifting through a variety of chapter-length adventures, before settling into the more long-form and ultimately satisfying trip to Shiragami's parents' house. In light of the events of volume five, it see...
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The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Scars They Left Behind Novel

Ten years before Princess Elizabeth set out to find Meliodas and the other Sins, her older sister Margaret and Gilthunder struggle to keep a terrible secret in this prequel to The Seven Deadly Sins. Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― If you're a casual fan of Nakaba Suzuki's manga The Seven Deadly Sins or its anime adaptation, you should be aware that this novel is intended to be read either after the...
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Dagashi Kashi BD+DVD

Is this slice of life comedy about convenience store candy a sugar rush worth indulging, or is it just as frivolously forgettable as its subject matter? Nick Creamer finds out. ― Anime has already offered us long-running dramas about baking bread and entire franchises predicated on idols fighting interstellar wars, so it's tough to be surprised by basically any premise these days. Slice of life in pa...
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My Hero Academia - Season One Limited Edition BD+DVD

Have no fear, for the Limited Edition blu-ray of My Hero Academia is here! Nick Creamer revisits the strengths and weaknesses of this first season alongside its extras-packed home release. ― Debuting just three years ago, My Hero Academia has swiftly become one of the headline manga of Shounen Jump, a rip-roaring adventure elevated by strong art, charming characters, and consistent mastery of battle ...
review

The Irregular at Magic High School Movie: The Girl Who Summons the Stars

The Mahouka movie has just landed in theaters, and Kim Morrissy has an inside scoop! Is this original story worth checking out for longtime fans or even newcomers? ― When the TV series of The Irregular at Magic High School first aired in 2014, its highly technical magic system and overpowered protagonist proved to be polarizing. The anime's dry visual presentation and clumsy pacing only made it more ...
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Endride BD+DVD part 1

This fantasy adventure based on a mobile game came and went without much fanfare last year, but is it worth a second look? Theron Martin finds out. ― When this mobile game adaptation debuted back during the Spring 2016 season, I was so unimpressed by the first episode that I gave it my lowest rating of that Preview Guide and never bothered to watch another episode. Funimation's announcement of a simu...
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Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Novel 3

Grimgar's story continues where the anime adaptation left off, becoming far more brutal as our heroes lay siege to an orc fortress. Rebecca Silverman gets into the details. ― Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash's third novel is the first to go beyond what the anime covered, and it brings with it more answers about the past and an increased brutality to the combat aspect of the series. It sees Haruhiro and his...
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Tokyo Ghoul GNs 11-13

Kaneki must find the balance between monster and man within himself if he wants to succeed in his quest to protect his friends. Rebecca Silverman follows this antihero's darkening path through these three intense volumes. ― A work doesn't need to be subtle to be good, neither in its symbolism nor its references to earlier literature. That's a good thing in the case of Tokyo Ghoul, which is being more...
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your name. [Hardcover] Novel

The movie may be a phenomenon, but how does Shinkai's novelization of his film hold up? Theron Martin finds out. ― In 2002 Makoto Shinkai effectively shouted his name to the anime industry and fandom with the release of Voices of a Distant Star, an OVA that caught attention both for nearly one-man production team and its simple, potent story about teenage lovers trying to stay in contact even as the ...
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Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions BD+DVD

This unusual take on isekai stories sees its adventurers struggling to take down even one goblin in exchange for a decent meal. Theron Martin takes a look at the special edition release. ― This 12-episode series from the Winter 2016 season debuted just three days before fellow isekai light novel adaptation Konosuba. These two series were diametrically opposed in their differing approaches to the same...
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The Water Dragon's Bride GN 2

The Water Dragon's conflicted feelings for Asahi lead him to enact his wrath in the second volume of Rei Toma's take on a tragic mythical story. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Tales of girls sacrificed to water gods exist world-wide, although the story seems to have particular appeal to creators of manga and manhwa. Rei Toma's The Water Dragon's Bride combines with the ever-popular isekai genre to bri...
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Gosick Part One BD+DVD

This mystery series starring a gothic lolita Sherlock is finally available on Blu-ray after lingering in licensing limbo for over five years! Rebecca Silverman finds out if it's still worth watching. ― The year was 1924. Waistlines were low and hemlines were high, Koshien Stadium was built, the Prince of Wales visited Japan, and Calvin Coolidge made the first-ever presidential radio address. The worl...

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