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review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 GN 2

Things just keep on getting wilder as Jojo and Caesar encounter the Pillar Men underneath Rome. If Jojo's going to beat them, he had better hope Caesar's master Lisa Lisa will take him on in this action-packed, gravity-defying volume. ― One thing you can say about Hirohiko Araki's Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: there is never a dull moment. Battle Tendency, the second part in the ongoing megaseries, is le...
review

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls Blu-Ray

This well-animated OVA series is one of the most gruesomely graphic anime titles ever made. Does anything else about it actually matter? ― Whatever else might be said about this four episode OVA series, there's exactly one thing you need to know: it ranks among the most gruesomely graphic anime titles ever made. And really, does anything else about it actually matter? If hyperviolent fare on the leve...
review

Aldnoah.Zero Part 3 Limited Edition

Aldnoah.Zero's second season can't quite live up to the finale of the first, but it does use some interesting themes and references to build its story of an increasingly senseless war. ― In all honesty, the first twelve episodes of Aldnoah.Zero didn't really need a sequel. With their pointed conclusion they made a definitive statement about the follies of war while leaving viewers the space to fill i...
review

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Blu-Ray

The sequel series to the original Mobile Suit Gundam is a much darker look at the horrors of war, and now it's out on bluray in English! Our resident Gundam expert Lauren Orsini weighs in. ― Don't be fooled by the new name or the young new protagonist—Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a sequel series. Its many tie-ins to the One Year War at the center of Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 cement it as a follow-up to t...
review

My Little Monster GN 12

There's one volume left, but the main story ends here in a book that is sweet, thoughtful, and thoroughly satisfying. ― Stable, happy couples don't tend to make for great reading, but they do provide excellent happy endings. Robico's My Little Monster has never fully promised us either of these things as it followed the rocky, awkward romance between emotionally wounded Haru and deliberately cold Shi...
review

UQ Holder! GN 2

UQ Holder maintains its polish and consistency, but has yet to truly find its voice in this second volume. ― In many ways, UQ Holder feels like the series Ken Akamatsu has been wanting to write for most of his career. His first major hit, Love Hina, started off as a traditional harem series, with serial failure Keitaro Urashima finding himself the manager of a lady's dorm and comedy predictably ensui...
review

Daimadaler: Prince V.​S.​ Penguin Empire BD+DVD

This hyperactive sex comedy sendup of giant robot shows might be trying a little too hard to be ribald, but it also just might generate a few chuckles nonetheless. Theron Martin gets into it. ― The very first line of the opener should serve as a warning about what you're getting into here. It translates as “turn your roaring libido into strength,” and that fully embodies the essence of the show, for ...
review

The Boy and The Beast

Just as he tackled motherhood in the acclaimed Wolf Children, Mamoru Hosoda takes on fatherhood in his latest film, The Boy and the Beast. Absent his crucial screenwriting partner, Hosoda's film is an unfortunate and rare stumble for a promising artist. ― At first glance, The Boy and The Beast carries all the hallmarks of a Mamoru Hosoda film. The warm colors, wiggly lines, soft expressions, and hype...
review

Review: Night on the Galactic Railroad Blu-Ray

Gabriella Ekens is all aboard the train to existential happiness in this classic film, based on Kenji Miyazawa's timeless children's book. It's out now on bluray for the first time, and it's never looked better. ― Editorial disclosure: two regular Anime News Network contributors worked on this disc, Mike Toole and Justin Sevakis. Neither were involved with nor consulted on this review in any capacity...
review

Review: Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo Blu-Ray

Rebuild of Evangelion's long-delayed third installment finally arrives on bluray, where it's revealed that maybe it's a bad idea to keep screaming "GET IN THE ROBOT, SHINJI!" ― Well, it's finally here: after a little over three years in release limbo, Evangelion 3.33: You Can (not) Redo is finally on bluray in the US. Let's not waste any time: the odds that you've heard this movie sucks are astronomi...
review

Review: Sword Art Online II Blu-Ray 4

Asuna takes over the lead role for the series' final story arc, which is a key component in making it the best SAO arc animated to date. ― You do not need to be an Asuna fan (as I am) to acknowledge that she has been woefully underused and underdeveloped through the first five story arcs of the SAO franchise (including Extra Edition). Despite being one of the original two faces of the franchise, she ...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 5: End of the Golden Witch Volume 2 GN 11

Umineko devolves into a tedious debate about the rules of the Golden Age mystery in a volume that's all about the genre without actually giving us much mystery. ― It's time to ask yourself, are you reading Umineko: When They Cry because you like the story and Ryukishi07's style of telling it, or are you reading it because you have a deep investment in the philosophical discussion of mystery novels, f...
review

My Monster Secret GN 1

My Monster Secret opens with a by-the-numbers but endearing set of harem shenanigans, full of fun characters and ridiculous faces. ― The harem bar has been somewhat raised as of late. While the harems of years past could get away with occasional hot spring shenanigans and the promise of a kiss, modern sex capers like Prison School and Monster Musume throw lust and nudity front and center, accompanyin...
review

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment GN 1

A fun and weird mix of mystery elements makes School Judgment's first volume an interesting new series, albeit it one with some disturbing pieces. ― How many of you attended or participated in mock trials in school? In the school system I attended, it was a pretty common social studies exercise in middle and high schools, and in some cases students even went to the courthouse to play out their cases....
review

Honey So Sweet GN 1

A seemingly mismatched pair of high schoolers tries to sort out their relationship in this new shoujo series that is as sweet as its title. ― Spiritually, Honey So Sweet has a lot in common with Robico's My Little Monster. Both stories feature high school age heroes who frighten their classmates (and even got suspended for the same reason on the first day of school) and the girls they love, neither o...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 7

Madarame and Hato’s romantic foibles dominate a volume of Genshiken that sees the manga demonstrating its old strengths from outside its dramatic comfort zone. ― The trials of young Madarame continue in Second Season's seventh volume, as both he and all his improbably suitors struggle to deal with their feelings. As befitting a harem story, in the wake of Madarame breaking his hand (again) after lear...
review

One-Punch Man GN 4

One-Punch Man continues to be a very funny parody of the superhero genre as Saitama's heroing-for-fun lands him in what's supposed to be the hot seat with other jealous heroes. ― One of the most effective attacks you can wage on a person is to go for their ego. Bullies have known this for years, and you'd think that this would work doubly well on those people with superpowers and lists of rankings an...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 3

The Ancient Magus’ Bride turns inward in its third volume, challenging the uneven relationship at the heart of its magic and mystery. ― The third Ancient Magus' Bride opens in blood and thunder, as the attack on Chise that closed out the last volume prompts a wild response from Elias. Shedding the trappings of his nearly-human form, Elias billows across full-page spreads in black and bone, spine brea...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Novel 4

Bell's defining defeat of the Minotaur has qualified him for Level 2 as an adventurer, a feat which shocks Eina in this fourth light novel. ― The main story in the fourth DanMachi novel was directly adapted into episode 9 of the anime. The episode did feel like it had rushed things a bit, but not until I read the novel version did I appreciate how much. However, the source material only supplied 161 ...
review

Review: Garakowa -Restore the World-

Theron Martin enters the world of Garakowa, a film that shows a whole lot of ambition and creativity but has a few storytelling issues that get in the way. ― Originally called D.backup, Garakowa is the creation of the duo Physics Point, who won the right to have their concept adapted into animated form as part of a contest conducted by Pony Canyon back in 2013. Although the creators may be newcomers ...
review

Die Wergelder GN 1

Hiroaki Samura subtitles his new series "Bad Bitch Action," and while that's only true of a few of the characters, this is still an intense, disturbing, and sometimes funny series that means it when it says its for mature audiences. ― Can you put a price on a life? According to the ancient Germanic practice of wergeld (also spelled “wergild”), you sure can – the word means “man payment” and refers to...
review

Sailor Moon R Part II BD+DVD

The quality is better (although not perfect) in Viz's release of the second half of Sailor Moon R, where Chibi-Usa's true history (and goal) is revealed. ― Arguably, part two of Sailor Moon R, the second of five original seasons in what has come to be known as Sailor Moon Classic, is where the story starts to get good. Less subjectively, it's where the story returns to the manga storyline (more or le...
review

Vinland Saga GN 7

The tale of Ketil's farm comes to an end here as Thorfinn puts his new "first resort" for conflict into practice in this chapter of Makoto Yukimura's Viking saga. ― The phrase “move on” has many connotations, ranging from a simple shift in the topic of conversation to a much more drastic lifestyle change. In the seventh omnibus of Makoto Yukimura's Viking tale Vinland Saga (comprising volumes thirtee...
review

Sword Art Online: Progressive Novel 3

Some aspects of the writing improve as the story moves to a new floor which poses fresh types of challenges, but other problems still linger. ― One of the most appealing features of the Progressive retelling of SAO's Aincard story arc is that it has the time to explore all the floor-to-floor variations which make Aincard the dynamic setting that it should have been. That is more evident in this novel...
review

Review: Tamako Market Blu-Ray

Tamako Market may not reach the heights of its director’s previous work, but is still a polished and endearing effort. ― Tamako Market is a less-storied entry in the Kyoto Animation canon, but certainly not for lack of talent. The show represents the reunion of director Naoko Yamada and series composer Reiko Yoshida, the team responsible for the blockbuster hit K-On!, its sequel, and its indulgent bu...
game review

Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster

One of Dave Riley's fondest videogame friends and a cult favorite entry in the Resident Evil series comes back with a facelift and a new suite of features, but can Dave go home again? ― Resident Evil Zero, a prequel featuring Resident Evil 1's ultra-wimp, Rebecca Chambers, places the eighteen-year-old rookie medic in her own grueling, eight-to-ten hour, zombie-shotgunning adventure. Backing her up is...
review

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer GN 9-10

Biscuit Hammer outdoes itself with an extended finale that soars above its already-impressive early material. ― When I reviewed the fourth collection of Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, I expressed some disappointment at the lack of climactic emotional payoffs matching the earlier volumes. As it turns out, Biscuit Hammer was apparently just saving all the big stuff for the finale. Here in the story's ...
review

Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & Mu GN

Horror master Junji Ito describes his life with his fiancee's cats in a volume that really captures the animals while poking fun at his horror style. ― This is not a horror story. Or maybe it is – famed horror mangaka Junji Ito (Uzumaki, Gyo) has never lived with cats before his fiancée A-ko tells him that her family cat Yon will be moving to their new home, which they already share with Junji (J-kun...
review

The Devil is a Part-Timer! Novel 3

The third novel continues the story beyond the anime adaptation, making it clearer that there is a much bigger story involved than what the anime version hinted at. ― With its third novel The Devil is a Part-Timer continues the story beyond its anime adaptation, in the process making it clearer that there is a much bigger story involved than what the anime version hinted at. Minor revelations through...
review

Livingstone GN 1

Livingstone adapts Tomohiro Maekawa's stage play about the way lives can veer from a soul's chosen path in a first volume that is a little too recognizable. ― There are as many different beliefs about souls and the afterlife as there are religions in the world. Some believe that to name a child after a living person will render the older person a ghost, as his soul will be transferred to the child; o...
review

Yowamushi Pedal GN 1

Yowamushi Pedal's first volume takes a little while to get going, but then this story about a boy discovering the world of competitive cycling starts to fly. ― Bicycles are a part of many peoples' childhoods – learning to ride a bike is the first taste of freedom for a lot of kids as suddenly they have access to places farther away than mere walking could take them. It's a rite of passage in a lot of...
review

Concrete Revolutio

Concrete Revolutio spins a classic examination of heroism into an exciting and sprawling treatise on power, justice, and the nature of society. ― Concrete Revolutio is packed with more superbeings than you could possibly ask for. There are traditional sentai warriors here, and child geniuses piloting giant mechas. There are massive beasts created by government experiments, and cyborg detectives sworn...
review

My Love Story!! GN 7

My Love Story!! shifts its focus to Sunakawa and the girl who's been stalking him (with love) for the past ten years. Takeo's about to learn that some things are best left unmeddled with. ― Being a naturally helpful person can get you into a lot of trouble. Not only is it likely to attract emotional black holes, but even the most well-intentioned action in pursuit of someone else's goals can backfire...
review

Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi GN 1

Also known as AkaAka, this supernatural story's first volume is intriguing, although light on the explanations. ― Perhaps we should start with the obvious: Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi is a really awkward title. Its Japanese original is Akaya Akashiya Akayashino, which is not an easy one to translate – not only does the meaning have to be conveyed, but even non-Japanese speakers can see th...
review

Testament of Sister New Devil BURST

If the first season of Testament had issues fully distinguishing itself from close competitor High School DxD, its 10 episode second season only exacerbates the problem. ― If the first season of Testament had issues fully distinguishing itself from close competitor High School DxD, its 10 episode second season only exacerbates the problem. Let's see, a plot where the whole gang goes to the demon real...
review

One-Punch Man

Nick Creamer takes on One Punch Man and finds himself thrilled by the incredible action and unbelievable animation, but there's something amiss... ― Like many great heroes, One Punch Man seems to have grown into its powers throughout its lifespan. Starting out as a barely-drawn webcomic by barely-artist ONE, it initially got by purely as a gag comedy. “What if there was a hero so strong he could defe...
review

Fairy Tail Part 18 BD+DVD

Fairy Tail embarks on a filler arc that misses a couple of big opportunities, but at least we get to see Gray have a dance-off. ― Not all anime-only arcs are created equal. Some feel like pure fluff filler, others attempt to fix an issue that didn't get enough time or attention in the manga, and still others fall in between. The episodes in this eighteenth DVD/BD release of Fairy Tail feel like they ...
review

Tamayura: Hitotose DVD

This 2011 slice-of-life show has a lot to offer in terms of emotion, although it still is likely to have limited appeal to those who are not fans of the genre. ― Slice of life shows, sometimes also categorized as “soothing” or “iyashikei,” are very hit or miss if that's not your go-to genre. Tamayura: Hitotose, a series from 2011 recently released on DVD by Nozomi, is a little bit of both hit and mis...
review

Vinland Saga GN 6

As Thorfinn faces the possibility of freedom, he wonders if he will ever be truly free of his violent past. Meanwhile King Canute is busy playing Macbeth as the political wheels turn, sending more war down on Denmark. ― Everyone, we like to think, wants to be free. That is true for the most part – why would someone rather labor under duress, be it in literal or figurative slavery, when they could be ...
review

Horimiya GN 1

Horimiya stands out because it doesn't try to - with a gimmick-free first volume, it's a fun, unpretentious romance that stands on the strength of its characters. ― You could be forgiven if, after reading the synopsis above or on the back of the book, you assumed that Horimiya is just another name for KareKano. And while that's not a total fabrication – after all, both series rely on the device of a ...
review

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma GN 9

Megumi Tadokoro really comes into her own as the Fall Classic continues... plus, someone makes a turtle burger. ― It isn't always easy to tell when a character has reached a plateau in their development, especially in shounen tournament manga, where “physically superior” can be easily confused with “emotionally stronger.” Megumi Tadokoro, the shy country girl of Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki's Food War...
review

Review: KIZUMONOGATARI: Wound Tale Novel

Our resident Monogatari expert Nick Creamer takes on the novel that has become something of a holy grail for major fans of this twisty and artistically challenging series. ― Kizumonogatari has become something of a white whale in anime fandom. First announced for adaptation half a decade ago, the anime has idled in stasis over the course of the publication and subsequent anime adaptation of numerous ...
review

Valkyrie Drive -Mermaid-

At long last, Anime News Network's Theron Martin tackles this winter's boobiest anime. Does it live up to its notorious reputation? ― Mermaid is the anime branch of a three-pronged multimedia project under the general name Valkyrie Drive; the other two branches are a PS Vita game and an app-based social game. Its basic structure, setting, and story hold enough parallels to Cross Ange (which was, perh...
review

Riddle Story of Devil DVD

Riddle Story of Devil is a fast-paced action story that takes time to give all of its characters reasons for being who and where they are. ― Do you want to be the Queen? It's an interesting cultural phenomenon that girls often proclaim a desire to be “princesses” rather than “queens,” and Riddle Story of Devil plays with that a little bit by bringing up the notion of the Queen Bee, absolute ruler of ...
review

Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring

The next generation of Hidden Leaf ninja takes center stage as Uchiha Sarada embarks on a quest to meet the father she hardly remembers and discover the true identity of her mother. ― To be honest, I never imagined a story about the next generation of Hidden Leaf youngsters would be built around anyone but Boruto, Naruto and Hinata's precocious son, but despite its misleading subtitle, Naruto: The Se...
review

The Secret Sakura Shares GN

The Secret Sakura Shares is one of those shoujo romances that makes you question what is considered "romantic." ― Our pets lead pretty great lives – we feed them, groom them, and smother them with love and affection, consistently telling them that they're the best in the world. It must be nice, right? Yayoi Ogawa's 2000 josei manga Tramps Like Us explored that question in a mature, fairly thoughtful ...
review

Library War DVD

The 2008 TV anime of Hiro Arikawa's light novels finally makes it to English-speaking audiences and largely proves to be worth the wait...story-wise, anyway. ― DiscoTek continues its trend of bringing shoujo series some of us feared would never see a legal US release to DVD with Library War, a twelve episode (plus one special) TV series from 2008. The story adapts Hiro Arikawa's five volume light nov...
review

Aura: Koga Maryuin's Last War Blu-Ray

Theron might not be quite won over by this feature-length film, a hard-edged chunibyo adventure that covers similar ground to Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions. ― One old adage which is reportedly especially applicable in Japan is “the nail which sticks out will get hammered down.” That underlies the themes of this 83 minute long 2013 movie, which adapts a one-shot 2008 light novel of the same name....
game review

Review: Yakuza 5

The flaws and foibles of Yakuza 5's presentation aren't hurdles to jump, they're an inextricable part of what makes this game special. ― Yakuza is a hectic blend of the absurd, the melodramatic, and the mundane. In this bizarre world where even the loan sharks have a heart of gold--Sky Finance offers the best no-collateral, no-interest loan you'll get this side of Tom Nook--mafiosos spend as much tim...
review

A Silent Voice GN 4

A Silent Voice retains its profound sensitivity of execution even as it takes some clumsy dramatic turns. ― It feels like A Silent Voice's density of heartwarming and agonizing moments must exceed the legal limits. The story is littered with so many deeply endearing or painfully true little details that even when it's going through a somewhat weaker dramatic arc, the reactions of the characters feel ...
review

Umi Monogatari DVD

This magical girl-flavored 2009 fantasy series, a recent pick-up by Nozomi Entertainment, is wholly uninspired in its early stages but gets better as it goes along. ― The title of this 2009 fantasy series directly translates as “Sea Story,” which tells you exactly what you're getting: a story where nearly everything going on in some way or another involves the sea, even if that connection is not init...
review

Buddy Complex Sub.Blu-Ray +DVD

Buddy Complex never quite lives up to its promise, but it still manages to be a pretty enjoyable show. ― Buddy Complex is a bit of an odd duck. It's a time-traveling mecha show that owes its plot to a lot of recognizable sources, from Aquarion and its sequels to hints of the original El Hazard with its relationship between Hina and Aoba. None of this is bad, per se, nor does it feel fully predictable...
review

Tokyo Ghoul GN 3 & 4

Tokyo Ghoul is horror that makes you think as these volumes delve more deeply into the question of who is the real monster - the ghouls or the humans? ― Every so often, there will be two news items side-by-side: a story about how, for example, a battered “bully breed” dog will have saved a newborn kitten and nursed it back to health juxtaposed with an article about two people killing each other over ...
review

So Cute It Hurts!! GN 4

Go Ikeyamada's sugary shoujo continues to be ridiculously entertaining...and gives us hints of an actual backbone to this otherwise gooey confection. ― Have you ever eaten Pixie Stix? They're paper straws filled with flavored sugar, basically the sweet equivalent of an energy drink, and this is important because reading Go Ikeyamada's English-language debut, So Cute it Hurts, is basically the literar...
review

Etotama Collector's Edition Blu-Ray Vol. 1

Zodiac-flavored romantic hijinks abound in this decidedly overlooked show, now on bluray from PONYCAN. Theron Martin discovers that it's kind of a mixed bag. ― Etotama (whose name is a reference to the souls of the Eto-shin and Eto-musume) is a 12 episode series from the Spring 2015 season which also has an accompanying manga version; the latter, which debuted more than a year earlier, is actually li...
review

Durarara!! x 2 Blu-Ray 2

The bomb that Mikado lit the fuse on so many years ago has finally gone off, spreading shrapnel all through the heart of Ikebukuro. The next volume of Durarara!! x 2 is here. ― It finally happened. The bomb that Mikado lit the fuse on so many years ago has finally gone off, spreading shrapnel all through the heart of Ikebukuro. Now some very dangerous people know that he's the schmuck who started the...
review

Dragonar Academy BD+DVD

"Dragonar Academy offers tentacles and balloon boobs, but not much else." ― Great art often asks difficult questions - questions that speak to the human condition, that embody what we are and who we strive to be. “Why are we here?” is a classic art entreaty; “is true understanding of another possible?” is one of my personal favorites. Dragonar Academy centers its discourse on a similar question, one ...
review

The Irregular at Magic High School Sub.Blu-Ray 3

The third and final arc of the anime adaptation of The Irregular at Magic High School has its moments, but it doesn't really take off until the very end, which is sadly inconclusive. ― The Irregular at Magic High School has made some attempts at differentiating itself from its “magical high school harem adventure” brethren by being much more technical in how it both uses and discusses magic, it also ...
review

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Collector's Edition Blu-Ray Vol. 1

Rokka opens with an uneven but promising start, offering compelling hooks in spite of some fairly rough edges. ― Rokka's first episode is about as strong a statement of purpose as you could ask for. The first scenes introduce would-be hero Adlet Myer in a thrilling fight scene, as Adlet interrupts a holy tournament and gracefully careens between its two champions, tossing off caltrops and spitting fi...
review

My Hero Academia GN 2

My Hero Academia turns up the heat in a second volume that exemplifies Jump action at its absolute best. ― My Hero Academia barreled out of the gate with an extremely polished first volume, featuring sharp, dynamic art and confident (if very genre-conservative) storytelling. The manga didn't lack polish, but it did feel possibly a bit impersonal - what with it going through the classic motions of big...
review

Tokyo ESP GN 1

Tokyo ESP's first omnibus volume takes a little bit to overcome genre stereotypes, but when it takes off, it really flies. ― Vertical's decision to publish Hajime Segawa's Tokyo ESP in two-volume omnibuses turns out to have been a very good idea. Not only does it mean that this is a nice, thick book, it also ensures that we get not just the basic beginnings of the story, where Rinka is still torn abo...
review

GATE Season One

The second season is right around the corner, so Rebecca Silverman takes a look back at the first season of the military fantasy adventure GATE. ― It would be easy to brush GATE off as a version of Outbreak Company with a military twist – both shows are based on light novels and feature otaku leads whose “special” interests make them ideal candidates for Japanese expeditions to fantasy lands. But whe...
review

School-Live! Complete Series

Infamous for its first episode twist, the moe girls-and-zombies dramedy School-Live captured the imaginations of otaku everywhere this summer. Is the show worth all the hype? ― Spoiler Warning for the major plot point at the end of episode one! It's so easy to be taken in by appearances. School-Live!, based on the manga of the same title by Norimitsu Kaiho and Sadoru Chiba, starts out looking like ev...
review

Fullmetal Alchemist Blu-Ray Collector's Edition

The 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist series left a smoking crater in anime fandom, and now it's out on bluray in a superdeluxe $300 limited edition. Hope Chapman revisits this modern classic and cracks open that pricey box. ― Few anime have had the opportunity to leave a thumbprint on pop culture the size of Fullmetal Alchemist's. Upon first airing on Cartoon Network's adult swim block in 2004, FMA became a ...
review

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire GN 5

Resident Evil 6's prequel manga ends after five tense (and intense) volumes, and while the finale may work better for those who know the game, it's still a pretty good horror series. ― You have to appreciate a manga series where you can read each volume in roughly twenty minutes because the action just moves that fast. Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire has been one of those series for all of its five...
review

Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set Volume 24

Gaara confronts his resurrected father in this decidedly uneven collection of Naruto Shippuden episodes from the Fourth Ninja World War. ― Volume 24 of Naruto Shippūden encompasses episodes 297 to 309, another collection of stories set during the Fourth Ninja World War. Episode 297 picks up where the previous set left off, with Gaara confronting the reanimated corpse of his father, the Fourth Kazekag...
review

Black Lagoon: The Complete Series Premium Edition Blu-Ray

Black Lagoon offers plenty of highlights for fans of ultraviolence, though those looking for something more may find its serious drama too little too late. ― It's no surprise Black Lagoon has maintained such an enduring reputation among action fans. Even on the level of base premise, the show presents something fresh and exciting - a multinational cast of smugglers and thieves terrorizing the souther...
review

Idol Dreams GN 1

Arina Tanemura reworks the magical girl story into something for an older audience with the story of a thirty-one-year-old woman who wishes she could change the past. ― Most of us can probably remember a time in adolescence when we made a choice at a metaphorical fork in the road. Do you regret yours? Chikage Deguchi does, and she has carried the memory of the boy she let get away in her heart, conti...
review

Devil Survivor GN 1

It's a clunky start for this manga adaptation of Atlus' Nintendo DS game, but not an entirely unpromising one. ― While any form of adaptation from one medium to another is difficult, games into another narrative format seem to be particularly troublesome. Whether this is because the choices present in the originals now have to be made for the reader, as opposed to the players making those decisions t...
review

Danganronpa BD+DVD

The anime adaptation of Danganronpa, the twisted smash hit visual novel that's taken anime fandom by storm, is out now. But is it as cool as it should be? ― Danganropa is a Japanese video game franchise available primarily on PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Android platforms which has already seen American releases of some of its titles. This 2013 anime series is a more or less straight adaptation of the ...
review

The Honor Student at Magic High School GN 1

The Honor Student at Magic High School retells the story of The Irregular at Magic High School from Miyuki's point of view, and the franchise is much more accessible for it. ― Did you try to watch the anime version of Tsutomu Sato's The Irregular at Magic High School but just couldn't get into it because the protagonist, Tatsuya Shiba, was simply too good at everything except having a discernible per...
review

A Bride's Story GN 6

A Bride’s Story shines in its most dramatic and propulsive chapters yet. ― When I reviewed the last volume of Bride's Story, I mentioned how my greatest hope for the series was that it would eventually turn its piercing eye towards a story more focused and dramatic than the slice of life vignettes so far. Though the manga was endearing and beautiful, it wasn't always gripping, and sometimes felt more...
review

The World is Still Beautiful Sub.Blu-Ray

This lighthearted shojo adventure about a girl sent to marry a prince she's never met had a warm reception with critics and audiences alike, but is it worth owning? ― As shojo romantic dramedies go, this 12 episode series from the Spring 2014 season is one of the most accessible recent offerings. Even those who do not normally care for such fare could find this to be a pleasing viewing experience, as...
review

Yo-kai Watch GN 1 & 2

Yo-Kai Watch's first two books are good fun for the kiddies, but probably don't have much crossover appeal for older readers. ― If you're familiar with this story – which traces its roots back to a card game and a Nintendo 3DS game – you'll notice that Viz's release of the shounen Yo-Kai Watch manga has been localized. (A shoujo manga also exists, but as of this writing, it has not been licensed in E...
review

Accel World Novel 5

Accel World's fifth novel not only goes beyond where the anime left off, but it also shows some real improvement in terms of writing as it explores the reasons why the characters need to accelerate in the first place. ― Since the first Accel World novel, Reki Kawahara has fostered a suspicion in the reader that the kids who become caught up in Brain Burst, the program that allows access to the accele...
review

Tokyo Ghoul BD+DVD

The first season of this insanely bloody drama has captured a worldwide audience of hungry fans, but does it live up to all the hype? ― The action-horror series Tokyo Ghoul is quickly turning into one of the few anime you might have heard of even if you don't regularly follow new Japanese releases. The manga keeps topping the New York Times bestseller list, while merchandise has already crept its way...
review

Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX

The third season of Symphogear brings all the ludicrous over-the-topness that made the first two seasons such a smash, but how does it all wrap up? ― Symphogear has always been a very silly show, one resolutely dedicated to dramatic absurdity and one-upmanship. In its second season, the show doubled down on its premise by emphasizing everything Symphogear and discarding everything not Symphogear. Wha...
review

Naruto: Kakashi's Story Novel

Naruto's teacher Hatake Kakashi takes center stage in this light novel set one year after the Fourth Shinobi World War. ― When it comes to Naruto characters who warrant further exploration, Hatake Kakashi is at the top of the list. Team 7's cool and collected (but oftentimes aloof and nonsensical) leader is one of the franchise's most popular characters. The hidden lower-half of his face was the subj...
review

Fairy Tail BD+DVD Parts 16 & 17

As two arcs come to their conclusions, Fairy Tail grows increasingly intense as the characters battle to change the future. ― One of the strengths of Fairy Tail, and indeed other similar shounen series, is the way that it can go from goofy to dead serious in a matter of minutes. The most recent story arcs to receive DVD/BD releases from Funimation, the Grand Magic Games and the Eclipse Gate plotlines...
review

K-ON! The Movie

K-On! settles into a comfortable rhythm for an unremarkable but endearing final movie. ― After the surprisingly draining emotional heights of K-On!'s second season, it'd be difficult for a movie reprise to come off as a truly essential addition to the series. And possibly to its benefit, the K-On! movie doesn't really try to - cataloging the girls' pre-graduation trip to London and quest to come up w...
review

Sword Art Online II Blu-Ray 3

The shortest arc of Sword Art Online II comes to bluray, and Theron Martin decides if it's worth the hefty price tag. ― At a mere three episodes the Calibur arc is by far the shortest of SAO's five TV series arcs. It is also the weakest in a narrative sense, as its stakes are the lowest and its motivations the most trivial of any of the story arcs. However, Calibur does have one critical factor going...
game review

Rodea the Sky Soldier

Simple but reflexively fun, Rodea the Sky Soldier emerges as the last good Wii game. Unfortunately, it's also on the Wii U and 3DS. ― Second chances come often in Rodea the Sky Soldier. The original game emerged as a Wii creation from Yuji Naka and his Prope studio in 2011. The Wii was on the verge of retirement at the time, but if the man responsible for NiGHTS, Burning Rangers, Ivy the Kiwi!, and s...
review

Review: Digimon Adventure tri. Episodes 1-4 Streaming

The long-awaited return of Digimon Adventure is finally here, 15 years later. Does it have anything to offer other than a fun nostalgia-wallow? Hope Chapman is ready to find out. ― Ever since Digimon Adventure tri was announced almost a full year ago, fans have been filled with trepidation over the unexpected anniversary project. The heavily anticipated Sailor Moon Crystal and its mixed reception wer...
review

The Seven Deadly Sins

It gets off to a slow start, but Netflix's exclusive 24-episode action-adventure shonen title eventually builds into something worthwhile. ― The Seven Deadly Sins (hereafter SDS) is the latest and most successful manga by Nakaba Suzuki, who has been active on one shonen title or another since the late '90s. This 24 episode anime adaptation is the first anime based on one of his works and definitely w...
review

School-Live! GN 1

School-Live's manga is differently paced than the anime based on it, but it's still a great combination of two disparate genres into a strangely fascinating whole. ― Warning: Spoilers for the Major Plot Twist It does feel a little foolish to put that warning here, because Yen Press, the English publisher of Norimitsu Kaihou and Sadoru Chiba's School-Live manga, puts it right there on the back of the ...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam Part II Blu-Ray

The original Mobile Suit Gundam wraps up with a bluray collection of the episodes that aired after the show was canceled and subsequently resurrected. ― In one of the earliest episodes of the Mobile Suit Gundam: Part 2 Blu-Ray collection, Amuro apologizes to a superior officer for a mutual comrade's death. Amuro believes that fewer people would have died “if I were better at using the Gundam.” The li...
review

A Silent Voice GN 3

A Silent Voice rises to new heights of emotional acuity in a volume that perfectly captures its protagonist’s roiling emotions. ― Welcome back to A Silent Voice, your source for good kids and sadness. In this third volume, we rejoin Shoya and Shoko as they attempt to make up for lost time, growing slowly closer in spite of hesitance on both sides. In Shoko's case, we see most of her desires secondhan...
review

Claymore GN 27

The dark fantasy series Claymore comes to a close, but will it satisfy longtime fans of the series? ― While many fans of the franchise have insisted that the anime version of Claymore spoiled things at the end by deviating from the manga, I have always insisted that the anime's ending was the better and more satisfying option at the time. Sure, the manga continued on and explained a lot of things tha...
review

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun GN 1

What do you do when your dream guy turns out to be a shoujo mangaka? Chiyo's started working as Nozaki's assistant, but she still isn't sure if this is the way to his heart in this very funny 4-koma series from Oresama Teacher's Izumi Tsubaki. ― Izumi Tsubaki is best known in the English-language market for her two shoujo series, both published by Viz: The Magic Touch and Oresama Teacher. Monthly Gir...
review

Blood Blockade Battlefront Episodes 1-12

Nick Creamer visits Yasuhiro Nightow's world of Hellsalem's Lot and finds a few compelling reasons to stick around. ― There's a lot to get through with Blood Blockade Battlefront, so I'll just start at the top. The show starts off by introducing us to Leonardo Watch, a boy who three years ago was caught in the “Great Collapse.” As New York City shattered to pieces in the distance, Leo and his sister ...
review

Review: Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie

Makoto and her cybernetic pals are back in the latest full-length animated Ghost in the Shell movie, set in the ARISE timeline. Is it a worthy entry in this storied, beloved sci-fi franchise? ― 20 years ago this month the original Ghost in the Shell movie debuted in theaters, offering what would quickly become the defining animated cyberpunk work. Rather than being an innovator, The New Movie is a wo...
review

K-ON! Season 2 Blu-Ray

Overall, K-ON! exemplifies “better than the sum of its parts.” And that makes sense, really, because it's the beauty of the construction of these tiny moments that makes it work. ― When I reviewed K-On!, I described it as an “unassuming but quietly excellent slice of life.” Cataloging the first two years in the high school life of Houkago Tea-Time, the show established an endearing cast of characters...
review

Ghost in the Shell: Arise 3 + 4 Blu-Ray

Things slow down a little in this ambitious prequel series, just in time for the new film debuting this week. Also: Motoko goes on a date! ― The second Arise release includes episodes 3 and 4, each of which is a little over 50 minutes long. While each episode focuses on a specific case, the two are somewhat related and a definitely continuity exists between the two. Both episodes certainly continue t...
review

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu BD+DVD

Full Metal Panic's light and silly Fumoffu season stands the test of time - it's just as funny to watch Sousuke blow up shoe lockers now as it was in 2005. ― Welcome back to 2003! Funimation's rescue of Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu, a series originally licensed and dubbed by ADV in 2005, is just as much fun as it ever was, although it must be said that the character designs look a little dated. Based on...
review

Skip Beat! GN 35

Skip Beat's 35th volume proves the series is still going strong while giving most of the inner monologues to Ren. If you've been waiting for him to make a move, this is your book. ― It isn't often that we get a chance to have an entire volume from Ren's point of view, although given that Yoshiki Nakamura has kept Skip Beat going this long without it declining in quality, we ought to expect the unusua...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam Blu-Ray

The Gundam series that started it all is out on bluray now, but there are two burning questions: how well does the show hold up and how well has it been preserved? ― When Mobile Suit Gundam Blu Ray edition was released in Japan, Bandai aired several commercials, all of which are included in this Blu Ray's bonus content. Each one features a middle-aged man going about his life while softly singing, “F...

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