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review

Freezing Vibration BD+DVD

This edgy, dark fanservice sequel may have gone a little too far into "edgy and dark", but the series' other qualities might just make up for that. ― At its core, the Freezing franchise is essentially a sci-fi version of Claymore flavored with elements from a handful of other franchises and loaded up with fan service on the level of the most explicit titles of the past few years. That impression only...
review

Black Lagoon GN 10

Warning: Black Lagoon may contain violence, law breaking, running with scissors, adult situations, parallel narratives, government spies, and just about everything else you've been warned against. And it's totally worth it. ― It's been a long wait for the crew of the Black Lagoon last sailed into our bookstores, but it looks like it was worth the wait. Volume ten of the violent (yet human) action ser...
review

Nisekoi: False Love Sub.Blu-Ray 3

Another love interest gets added to the Nisekoi pile, but is it enough to inject some life into this standard harem comedy? ― Anime romantic comedies commonly depend heavily on regular infusions of new characters to sustain and periodically revitalize themselves, and so far the first Nisekoi series has been pretty good about pacing itself on this. In its second quarter the addition of Seishiro shook ...
review

REVIEW: .hack//SIGN DVD

Before Sword Art Online, before Log Horizon, there was .hack//SIGN. Is the original MMO adventure worth revisiting? Nick Creamer investigates. ― In a time when Sword Art Online and Log Horizon have both become relative titans of the “genre,” it's interesting to return to the grandfather of MMO anime. .hack//SIGN is different from those shows - in contrast to Log Horizon's focus on worldbuilding and S...
review

D-Frag! BD+DVD

There's rarely a dull moment in this tale of a rogue Game Development Club and the hapless wannabe thug they rope into joining their ranks. ― Some people take their games more seriously than others, be they boardgames, video games, or old-fashioned role-playing. The girls in this particular Game Development Club take it a step further – they live their games, and not just in a LARPing sense. All of t...
review

Fantastic Detective Labyrinth Sub.DVD

Fantastic Detective Labyrinth combines a lot of genres in a bid to be an interesting mash-up of mystery and fantasy, but someone during production got lost along the way. ― There are times when the title of the series is just too ambitious for what it turns out to be. Fantastic Detective Labyrinth is one of them. Based on the manga of the same title by Meito Manjo and Seiji Wakayama, the plot limps a...
review

Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club Sub.DVD

Are you ready for the swim boys? They're ready for you. At least, they're ready in sub-only, bare-bones DVD form. Rose Bridges spends a few hours with everyone's favorite wet lads. ― In politics, there are two broad types of successfully candidates: those who appeal to a wide variety of voters in different ways, and those who pander heavily to a passionate "base." The same is true of popular anime, a...
review

Whispered Words GN 3

Will Sumika and Ushio be able to find lasting love in a world that doesn't always accept them? ― There are plenty of books, manga, prose, and poetry alike, which deal with the troubles that come with adolescence, not the least of which is the issue of being “different.” That word can mean many things in the harsh land of high school, and Takashi Ikeda's Whispered Words has consistently handled its ta...
review

Sankarea: Undying Love GN 11

Can there be a happy ending for a zombie who is entering her terminal eater phase and the boy who created her? ― Somewhere in the back of our minds whenever we read a romance is the question, “Will this have a happy ending?” With some stories we know the answer immediately; others, like Mitsuru Hattori's Sankarea, make us question that answer constantly. The truth lies somewhere in-between in this ca...
review

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

It's the second light novel in the series that spawned the popular anime. Do Bell's RPG adventures deliver, or do they just... string you along? ― The first novel of Fujino Omori's series offered Western readers an unprecedented opportunity to actually read an official English release of the source content for an anime series before it even made it on air. The second novel offers the unprecedented op...
review

Hanamonogatari Sub.Blu-Ray

Monogatari returns for a neatly self-contained arc that reveals new sides of an old friend. ― Monogatari has nothing left to prove. In the wake of Hitagi End, the show's central themes have been established, articulated, and hammered home. All of us deceive ourselves to make better, kinder worlds, all of us externalize our flaws and see demons outside ourselves, and none of us can be “rescued” from t...
review

Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! Episodes 1-12 Streaming

It's a magical girl parody show starring magical boys! Maybe, just maybe, it's a little more inspired than that suggests. ― There are two reasons this show was already hotly anticipated before it came out. One, with the rise in popularity of bishonen shows aimed at fujoshi, it was basically inevitable that somebody someday was going to riff on the magical girl genre but with boys. The only surprise w...
review

The Garden of Sinners -recalled-out summer- Blu-Ray

After seven films, there's another Garden of Sinners movie, this time exploring some side-stories from the series. Gabriella Ekens is on the case, but the film may leave more than a few things desired. ― Seven films into the Garden of Sinners experience, do we even need to spend any more time with the characters? Shiki and Mikiya's love story has seen fruition, Shiki isn't the killer that her origin ...
game review

Review: Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains

Attack on Titan comes to the Nintendo 3DS, and Dave Riley straps on his 3D maneuver gear to take down some titans. Whether or not he's still having fun after the first one is up for debate, though. ― Trapped behind giant stone walls of their own making, the final remnants of humanity huddle in fear of the unexplained threat of giant, gleefully stupid titans who saunter in every now and then to chow d...
review

Let's Dance a Waltz GN 1

What if you found your perfect dance partner and he wanted nothing more to do with either ballroom dance or you? ― In some ways, this is a very familiar story. Natsumi Ando, whose Arisa, Kitchen Princess, Wild@Heart, and Zodiac P.I. Have all previously been released in English, is a skilled enough writer that she depicts middle schoolers for the petty creatures they can be while still making them lik...
review

The World's Greatest First Love: The Case of Ritsu Onodera GN 1

When two former sweethearts, both with their own bitter version of their break-up, reunite at a shoujo manga magazine, life begins to imitate the art they work with. ― In the world of manga about manga, most titles focus on the creators themselves, giving us a picture of what it's like to work on a deadline and the pressure that creators face. In Shungiku Nakamura's The World's Greatest First Love, w...
review

Magi - The Kingdom of Magic DVD 1

The second season of Magi arrives on DVD with a good plot, some quality issues with the pacing and the English dub. So how does it still manage to be so much fun? ― Magi, be it the Labyrinth of Magic, as the first season was subtitled, or the Kingdom of Magic, the subject of this review, is one of those series where you're never quite certain where it's going. This season begins in the relatively cal...
review

Yakitate!! Japan Sub.DVD

You wouldn’t think bread-making would be a believable topic for a shounen competition anime. Maybe it isn't. Nick Creamer still hasn't decided. ― Yakitate!! Japan is a show about youth, and friendship, and hard work, and triumph. It's also a show about bread. It takes all those classic shounen tournament staples - harsh teachers, fierce rivals, harrowing training and last-minute reveals and dramatic ...
review

Love Stage!! GN 1

The original manga of Eiki Eiki's Love Stage has arrived in English! Has it been worth the wait? ― There's an established trope in the romance genre, whether the story is about a gay couple or a straight one: at the outset of the relationship, one or the other of the prospective partners will announce that they hate the other one. Eiki Eiki and Taishi Zaou's Love Stage does do that, but in an unusual...
review

One Piece Season 6 Part 3 DVD

We're almost at the end of the Thriller Bark arc, but the animation is starting to fall apart. ― Thriller Bark is One Piece by way of Tim Burton, and as far as story arcs in the shounen series go, it's one of the more interesting. Gecko Moria, one of the Seven Warlords, is both ridiculous and frightening with his ability to steal shadows and use them to animate zombies, and while we are reasonably su...
review

You're Being Summoned, Azazel Sub.DVD

Demons abound in this hard-edged short-form comedy series, but does its wildly hit-or-miss nature mean it isn't quite worth the asking price? ― “Nothing good ever comes from calling on demons to solve your problems.” This line is never explicitly said anywhere in this franchise, which consists of two series of 13 13-minute-long episodes (the original from 2011 and the sequel from 2013). However, it c...
review

Karneval [Omnibus] GN 1-2

This is an interesting, complicated fantasy adventure that has some unfortunate printing issues. ― The words “carnival” and “circus” have dual connotations. On the one hand, they are places of entertainment, words which make us think of swirling music and fantastic feats, glittering costumes and trained animals. On the other hand, the words can refer to a place where the rules of everyday life have b...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 6

The gang heads back to Comic Fest in another volume full of doujins, drama, and all the characters you love to wince for. ― The tension is kept at a comfortable simmer for most of this sixth volume. Having spent several volumes stressing over his shifting feelings for Madarame, Hato finally reaches the breaking point when confronted by Sue. In a great scene that demonstrates both more relatable perso...
review

Looking Up at the Half-Moon Sub.DVD

Looking Up at the Half-Moon promises romance and tragedy. As it turns out, it only provides one of those things, and not in the intended way. ― I wish I had something positive to say about this show. I'd even accept “it fails, but at least it tries” - but I honestly don't think Looking Up at the Half-Moon even really tries. It's lazy and tired and clumsily manipulative, lacking the personality or exe...
review

Denki-Gai [Collector's Edition + CD] Sub.Blu-Ray 1+DVD

An otaku slice-of-life show set in a manga shop comprises PONYCAN's other premium release. Find out if it's worth what they're asking. ― The second of Ponycan USA's forays into physical releases for the North American market, Denki-Gai at first seems an unlikely choice. The story takes place in Umanohone, a barely-veiled reference to a popular Japanese doujinshi retailer, something that most certainl...
review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 GN 2

How can JoJo possibly win against a Dio who has had his evil enhanced by the mysterious stone mask? Possibly by learning some new powers of his own... ― There is something appealing in a mad, manic way about Hirohiko Araki's Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Even if you aren't a fan of over-the-top shounen/seinen action manga, it's hard to resist this series, and its introductory arc, Phantom Blood, just get...
review

Kill la Kill [Limited Edition] BD+DVD 5

Find out if the final volume of Studio Trigger's controversial hit nails the landing, or if it's just out naked in the cold. ― Here at the end of Kill La Kill, viewers are forced to confront its most serious question: "What's butts got to do with it?" The show's blatant themes of "exposure" were couched in comedy for most of its run, but this accelerated shift to drama in the second half seems determ...
review

Yuki Yuna is a Hero [Collector's Edition + CD] BD+DVD 1

Get the lowdown on PONYCAN's first physical release in the US, a fancy box with the first 4 episodes of the magical girl show Yuki Yuna is a Hero. Is it worth what they're asking? ― In some respects this 2014 production followed a similar path to the one Kyousogiga tread exactly a year before: it was an original anime project which debuted in the Winter season without much buzz, and yet its heavily c...
review

12 Beast GN 1

Seven Seas brings us another monster girl manga by the author of Monster Musume! ― From the pen and mind of Okayado, who brought you Monster Musume (also released by Seven Seas) comes the much more generic 12 Beast, a story about an ordinary guy who has to go to another world and save the day, as well as the busty ladies. Eita Touga is a second year in high school, is embarrassed to be a virgin, and ...
review

Fairy Tail Part 15 BD+DVD

The Grand Magic Games heat up as unscrupulous contenders make the fights more dangerous while ominous powers move behind the scenes. Can Fairy Tail still come out on top? ― Fairy Tail has successfully made the standard shounen tournament arc into something that, if not precisely new, is still interesting even as it maintains the genre standards of increasingly powerful battles and hidden powers. Inde...
review

She, The Ultimate Weapon DVD

Rising from the dusty wastes of 2002, the grim embodiment of tragedy porn known as Saikano has returned to DVD. Run for your lives. ― In television writing there's an old adage about manipulating the emotions of your audience; there are various permutations on it, but the most common one is known as “kicking the puppy”. This refers to a hypothetical situation in which a writer, desperate to wring som...
review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past GN

Straight from your childhood and the pages of Nintendo Power, Manga great Shotaro Ishinomori puts his own spin on the classic Nintendo game. ― Link, that pantsless elven hero of many a video game, is back from the dead pages of Nintendo Power Magazine! For fans of the Nintendo franchise The Legend of Zelda who were either not subscribing to the Nintendo Power Magazine in 1992 or are not familiar with...
review

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Trigger's chuuni-drenched follow-up to Kill la Kill struggles to get out of that hit show's long shadow. ― When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is many things. Firstly, it's a light novel adaptation, as its lengthy title might indicate. It has the familiar marks of the genre: chuunibiyou characters with insights into how they tick, goofy school antics and a harem for the main male chuuni. Yet...
review

Tokyo Ravens BD+DVD part 1

It's an anime series involving magic teenagers at a magic school for magic people! Theron Martin investigates to find out what makes this one stand out. ― When Tokyo Ravens debuted in the Fall 2013 TV season, its adaptation of the eponymous light novel series failed to impress me with its first episode, and that does not change much on a repeat view. Indeed, the first episode is arguably the weakest ...
review

Dengeki Daisy GN 16

Dengeki Daisy's final volume arrives, but does it provide a sufficiently happy ending for those we care about? ― Few series, shoujo or otherwise, have consistently retained the air of excitement, tension, and romance that Kyousuke Motomi's Dengeki Daisy has over its sixteen volume run. While the story shifted from high school romance to technological thriller, essentially settling on a “romantic susp...
review

Yatterman Night Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Yatterman Night turns a classic children’s show into a story of dystopian struggle, but a lack of consistency threatens to bring the show to its knees. ― Yatterman Night's a strange one. Technically a “sequel” to the 70s cartoon Yatterman, it's akin to 2013's Gatchaman Crowds - an anime that takes a classic children's show and reenvisions it as a heavier piece for a new audience. In Crowds' case, thi...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 5

Genshiken takes a turn for the absurd in a volume stuffed with farces both intentional and not so much. ― Honestly, it can sometimes be kinda hard to review Genshiken. The manga's just too consistent! The art is always crisp, character work always thoughtful, dialogue always grounded and natural. It can be tricky to find new things to highlight every volume, because the volumes all tend to be roughly...
review

My Love Story!! GN 4

My Love Story!! is the shoujo romance for people sick of shoujo romances. ― The central conceit of this collaboration between High School Debut's Kazune Kawahara and Aruko for the first three volumes was that Takeo was such a big, muscular, unattractive guy that no one but Yamato could possibly want to date him. Even Takeo bought into this idea – for most of his dating life, girls were attracted to h...
review

Death Parade Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Death Parade spins out a simple death-game premise into a story full of surprises. Does this morbid drama rise to the occasion or collapse entirely? ― Released as part of the 2013 crop of the Anime Mirai young animator project, Death Billiards had a very simple premise. Two men find themselves in a strange bar, Quindecim, where they are told they must play a game of pool before they can leave. Eventu...
review

Unbreakable Machine-Doll [Limited Edition] BD+DVD

Advanced dolls controlled by magic are the focus of this light novel-based series that maybe feels a little incomplete. ― This entry from the Fall 2013 TV season is a 12-episode series which really should have been 24 episodes long instead. This is not a case of the production trying to cram too much into one series, however; based on the episode naming conventions, the animation probably covers the ...
review

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches GN 1

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches may not be flying along, but it features a take on the gender swapping genre that we don't get to see as often. ― As far as gender-bending body-swapping stories go, Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches is one of the nicest. I don't mean that in the sense that it's sweet and happy or conflict free, but rather in that there is a lack of the inherent meanness that seems to h...
review

Yona of the Dawn Episodes 1-24 Streaming

This shojo adventure has been heralded as one of the most satisfying examples of the genre in ages, but does it live up to the hype? ― There are more than enough anime out there about medieval princesses with reverse harems. It was a big enough genre in the 1990s and early 2000s to spawn multiple parodies. So, a decade and a half late to the party, what Yona of the Dawn offers to set itself apart is ...
review

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 3: Rebellion Blu-Ray

Our original Madoka Rebellion review has been updated to discuss today's limited bluray release, with an English dub and a hefty price tag. Did they make it worth the expense? ― In case the title itself wasn't a tipoff, Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Part 3: Rebellion is a conditional experience. Appreciating the film at all is conditional on having seen either the first two movies, or the origi...
review

Isuca Episodes 1-10 streaming

Theron Martin tackles one of winter 2015's overlooked shows, involving a youma-sealing archer girl and her reluctant housekeeper. ― Make a harem series that is roughly equal parts action, comedy, drama, and horror and you have this 10-episode, seinen manga-based Winter 2015 series (at least initially, anyway, as the horror element that is very prominent early on gradually fades in favor of the other ...
review

Requiem of the Rose King GN 1

Kanno's interpretation of history and Shakespeare is interesting, but it does get bogged down at times, particularly for readers who know the plays she's using as a basis for the series. ― Literature and Shakespeare lovers, beware – you may not be able to read Requiem of the Rose King's first volume without compulsively checking your copies of Henry the Sixth parts one through three and Richard the T...
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Kill la Kill [Limited Edition] BD+DVD 4

Kill la Kill hits a few speedbumps on the way to its apocalyptic ending in this penultimate volume. ― The high-flying cartoon antics of Kill La Kill reached their zenith in the show's Raid Trip episodes, which means it's time for that missile's nose to curve back down as it comes crashing to earth for an explosive nine-episode final act. While the series tries to maintain its good-natured glee, it's ...
game review

Review: Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart

The latest entry in Idea Factory's consoles-turned-moe-girls series takes the form of a PS Vita strategy game. Heidi Kemps puts it through the paces. ― My experience with the Neptunia franchise hasn't been the greatest: I played the first and second games in their original releases on the PS3 and would choose to describe them as “aggressively mediocre.” Even as someone who nerds out over all manner o...
game review

Review: Bloodborne

Dave Riley eagerly gnaws on From Software's latest grim and visceral action RPG for the PS4, but does it live up to the legacy established by the Dark Souls series? ― Some hours into Bloodborne you'll find your first shield, a rotten wooden board, whose item description comments on its poor construction and immediately insults you for considering using it. "Shields are nice, but not if they engender ...
review

Review: Outbreak Company Blu-Ray

An otaku gets more than he bargained for while applying for his dream job in this 2013 comedy; Theron Martin investigates. ― Clever, witty writing and thoughtful execution can turn even a silly concept into something good, and that is exactly what happens with this 12 episode series from the Fall 2013 season. In fact, it turns out so much better than originally expected that its streaming run was my ...
review

Sailor Moon BD+DVD Part Two

The second part of the first season of Sailor Moon is out, but did they manage to fix all those video problems? ― Well, they tried. It is apparent that the video quality has risen from the first disastrous release of Sailor Moon put out by Viz, and the untrained eye will mostly notice that in the Blu-Ray images are a bit clearer and the ghosting is less noticeable with the exceptions of the second an...
review

Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma GN 5

Food Wars! continues being chock-a-block with cliffhangers and competitions guaranteed to make you reluctant to put the book down once you've started reading. ― KFC and IHOP are not going to cut it when you've finished reading this volume of Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma. From breakfasts to tempt even the least enthusiastic morning eater to fried chicken that will make you wish you could pull it out o...
review

Your Lie in April Episodes 1-22 Streaming

Your Lie in April paints adolescent love and musical performance in exuberant colors, and almost gets away with it, too. ― Your Lie in April is a beautiful show. That should be stated first, both because it's true, and because that's where the show itself begins. The first episode opens with a gorgeous, nearly wordless sequence of a girl chasing a cat through blooming spring flowers. Light piano sets...
review

Log Horizon GN 1

Fans of the Log Horizon anime might find story questions answered more quickly in the first volume of this manga adaptation of the light novel. ― Log Horizon, like many a recent franchise, began its life as a series of light novels, in this case by Mamare Touno, before being adapted into both anime and manga. As might reasonably be expected, the difference in the adaptive mediums make each version a ...
review

Review: The Anime Encyclopedia Third Revised Edition

The Anime Encyclopedia's third revision is an impressive achievement, steadfastly chronicling anime shorts, films, and series from 1917 through 2014. ― There is one thing that we can all agree on, hands down – The Anime Encyclopedia is one impressive piece of work. Co-written by Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy, this tome attempts to chronicle and catalog a century's worth of Japanese animation w...
review

Bleach DVD 24

Theron marathons the second half of a Bleach filler arc, but maybe it isn't all that bad. ― Volume 24 covers episodes 330-342, which constitutes the second half of the series' final filler arc: the Nozomi/Kageroza/Reigai story. It also marks Ichigo's last gasp as a Soul Reaper before being completely depowered; in fact, the arc actually resolves in episode 341, allowing for the entirety of 342 to be ...
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Review: Rage of Bahamut: Genesis Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Based on the smash card game, Rage of Bahamut brings Hollywood style to the fantasy genre, but can it make it to the end on energy alone? ― MAPPA have been making quite a name for themselves recently. Founded in 2011 by Madhouse founder Masao Murayama, the studio has collaborated on two impressive Shinichiro Watanabe productions, Kids on the Slope and Terror in Resonance, as well as assisted Madhouse...
game review

Resident Evil Revelations 2

Capcom's horror sequel attempts to bring Resident Evil into the episodic age. Dave Riley, superfan of the original Revelations, investigates. ― For fans, Revelations 2 justifies its existence through its protagonists alone, Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, neither of whom have had more than a minigame cameo or light gun spinoff in a decade. Trapped on an abandoned island, Claire and Barry are paired...
review

From the New World GN 7

From the New World's final volume suffers from some jumbled presentation of events and a mixed-up timeline at the very end, but is it a fitting conclusion? ― Endings are not easy. From the perspective of the reader, endings mean that it is time to say good-bye to a story and that it is now up to us to process the events of a tale and what, if anything, they might mean. For authors, endings are a chal...
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Umineko When They Cry Episode 4: Alliance of the Golden Witch Volume 3 GN 9

Umineko: When They Cry has been getting better with every arc, and with the end of episode four, it has really become difficult to put down. ― What is the difference between magic and imagination? How much belief does it take to make something real? As children many of us had imaginary friends, not unlike Maria's Sakutarou, and most of us probably had rituals that we believed would make things better...
review

Coppelion Complete Series BD+DVD

The controversial adaptation of the hit manga shows up on bluray, but is it worth your time investment? ― What happens when you attempt to condense two distinct story arcs covering eight volumes of manga into thirteen twenty-four minute episodes? Those of you who answered “nothing good” would not be far off, although this adaptation of Tomonori Inoue's manga of the same name is in no way a total loss...
review

Koimonogatari Blu-Ray 5

Monogatari's second season concludes with a tremendous arc that pits the great deceiver Kaiki against an angry god. ― As I've said before, Monogatari isn't just one consistent show - it is several very different shows, all of them awkwardly wound into a single production. Normally, that multiplicity reveals itself through the show's “brokenness” - an arc will be two thirds genius, one third garbage, ...
review

Nisekoi: False Love Blu-Ray 2

The harem series trundles into its second set of 5 episodes, but has it broken out of the standard harem hijinks? ― Want to see the evidence of the impact that early Rumiko Takahashi romantic comedies like Urusei Yatsura and Ranma ½ are still having on anime today? Look no further than Nisekoi. While those two franchises may be utterly different stylistically than this one, the same basic formula is ...
review

Maria the Virgin Witch GN 1

The anime is a hit, but is the first volume of the Maria the Virgin Witch manga just as good? ― Archangels. Valkyries. A succubus named after a virgin goddess and a witch named after the Virgin Mary. Welcome to the mythologically confused world of Masayuki Ishikawa's Maria the Virgin Witch, one of two manga set during Medieval European wars to come out in English in the early spring of 2015. (The oth...
review

Fairy Tail Part 14 BD+DVD

The Grand Magic Games arc of Fairy Tail is just getting underway, and there's an obvious, ominous sub-plot being carried out beneath the merriment. ― Tournament arcs, if not the staple of shounen action stories, are certainly a staple. Fairy Tail has traded in plenty of “X vs Y” battles before, but never actually delved into a formal tournament...until now. While it was mentioned and led up to in pre...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 3

With Comic-Fest over, Genshiken slows down for a volume that demonstrates the series doing what it does best. ― With less of a strict central event like Comic-Fest to lend structure to these chapters, Second Season's third volume generally assumes a format closer to the rambling slice of life of the first “season,” with a few notable changes based on the comic's evolving priorities. Obviously the fac...
review

Hide and Seek GN 1 - 3

A spin-off of the earlier Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love, Hide and Seek is a story that explores the transition between casual and serious relationships ― Yaya Sakuragi is that (decreasingly) rare yaoi mangaka who has had multiple works translated and published in English. With SuBLime's release of her three-volume yaoi title Hide and Seek, she's had three separate publishers bring over her work (SuBLi...
review

Cat's Eye Season Two DVD

Cat's Eye's second season maybe doesn't quite live up to the standard set by the first; this is Saturday morning cartoon territory. ― The first season of Cat's Eye was a lot of fun in a campy, episodic way. Sadly this second season is not nearly as enjoyable, taking both “campy” and “episodic” and enhancing them until the discs become thirty-seven stand-alone stories that never really go anywhere and...
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Review: Tiger & Bunny: The Rising Blu-Ray

Kotetsu and Barnaby are back in the second Tiger & Bunny movie, but is it a worthy addition to this fan-favorite franchise? ― As the second of the two Tiger & Bunny movies, The Rising picks up in the wake of the first. Despite that, it is essentially a stand-alone extension of the franchise, one which maintains all of the character advancements and relationships but has little real narrative continui...
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Review: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (Episodes 0-12 Streaming)

The classic story has returned, with Emiya, Rin, and the inescapable Saber now battling for the first time in ufotable’s capable hands. ― Unlimited Blade Works is a tricky one to approach, both structurally and due to its place in a broader, creakier canon. The show technically adapts the second of three routes included in the original Fate/stay night visual novel - Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and H...
review

The Garden of Words GN

The Garden of Words is a hopeful story about finding peace not just in solitude, but with other people. Does the manga hold up as well as the film? ― Sometimes life can seem like too much. Whether it is a toxic work situation, trouble at home, or just an overwhelming need for everything to just stop for a moment, everyone needs a safe place to just exist without any problems for awhile. For first yea...
review

A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion BD+DVD

The Index movie certainly looks good and has all your favorite characters, but for a sprawling franchise like this one, what can an 85-minute film hope to achieve? Theron finds out. ― The world of Academy City is such an expansive, involved franchise that bringing it all together in a single 85-minute move is a tall order. That is exactly where The Miracle of Endymion stumbles. It is so focused on tr...
review

Valvrave the Liberator Season 2 Blu-Ray

Season two of the controversial Sunrise mecha action show arrives on Bluray, and Theron is here to find out if it manages to entertain, or if it's just here to baffle you. ― Since the beginning the Valvraves have been pitched as “the system that will reveal the truth of the world.” The first season, though, gave little indication that such a statement was anything more than typical colorful hyperbole...
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Review: Space Dandy: Season 1 [Limited Edition] BD+DVD

Shinichiro Watanabe's zany sci-fi showcase for his artist pals winds up on bluray today, loaded with special features in a limited edition with a hefty price tag. Mike Toole investigates. ― Space Dandy is a series full of magic-- a magic that first reveals itself late in episode 1, during a sequence in which the show's titular hero and his new pal, Meow, are forced to run away from a pack of jumbo-si...
review

Eccentric Family Sub.Blu-Ray

This little-seen family adventure about a group of tanuki living in Kyoto has careful writing and beautiful scenery; Nick Creamer thinks it might just be a modern classic. ― In the guidebook accompanying Eccentric Family, series composer Shotaro Suga speaks frankly of the difficulty of condensing an entire book into an anime, and the question of where to even begin telling the story. “There are just ...
review

Deadman Wonderland GN 7

Deadman Wonderland is a dark, unsettling look into a private prison abusing the system for the whims of the Warden and a few governmental higher ups. ― Ever since 1864, a “wonderland” has been a world where the rules of logic do not apply, a carnival that can be by turns fun and frightening. Deadman Wonderland has been playing with that definition since its first volume, and now in its seventh we beg...
review

Happy Marriage!? GN 10

The final volume of Happy Marriage is simultaneously the happiest and the smuttiest. Rejoice! ― It is always a little disconcerting when you realize that how you see the main characters of a series and how the author sees them don't quite line up. In the case of Chiwa and Hokuto of Maki Enjoji's Happy Marriage, that turns out to be the case, at least for me. Enjoji states several times in the book ho...
review

Short Peace Blu-Ray

Theron takes a journey through one of Japan's most acclaimed animated anthology films. ― Short Peace is also the name of a collection of manga short stories by Akira creator/director Katsuhiro Otomo, which was published in the 1970s. Here, like with the collection Memories, his name is the binding element to another collection of shorts, in this case all animated by Sunrise; he is the director of one...
review

Log Horizon Collection 2 Blu-Ray

The smash hit series about people trapped in an MMORPG - no, not that one, the other one - comes to a conclusion, but does it go out on a high note? Nick Creamer finds out. ― Log Horizon is the safe bet. It doesn't overreach, and it can sometimes drag, but if you give it time your investment will always be rewarded. Almost every strength and weakness that defined this season's first half remains true...
review

Give to the Heart GN 1 & 2

Give to the Heart is a sad, strange, fascinating story that tends not to be at all what you're expecting. ― Give to the Heart marks Korean manhwaga Wann's fourth English title to get a print release (others are available as e-books only), and it is certainly one of the most unusual. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, it combines her addictive soap opera romance with a frightening and confusing science ...
review

Secret GN 1

While Secret shares elements of Yoshiki Tonogai's earlier works, it eschews the locked-room format and hidden identities of those other titles, focusing instead on the idea of trauma, guilt, and what happens when you survive, against all the odds. ― If you've read Yoshiki Tonogai's other works, Doubt and Judge, you might be forgiven if you think he's a bit of a one trick pony. Therefore the sight of ...
review

Review: The Last: Naruto The Movie

The inaccurately-titled Naruto film hits American theaters today, and Amy McNulty sits in quiet awe at its visual (and romantic) splendor... in spite of some other issues. ― The Last: Naruto the Movie is a lush ninja fairy tale, an almost perfect incarnation of the Naruto story that's enraptured so many fans from around the globe for well over a decade. There were almost two and a half years between ...
review

Akame ga KILL! GN 1

The smash hit action-adventure manga starring a brutal team of assassins makes its way to the US, but does it live up to the hype? ― At first it seems like we know this story. Tatsumi is the bright-eyed, eternally hopeful country mouse who comes to the big city full of big dreams. He gets taken advantage of by a pretty lady, but eventually he finds out that there are still some good people in the wor...
review

ItaKiss: Complete Anime Series Collection Sub.DVD

Kotoko is at the bottom of her high school's hierarchy, and she has a crush on the elite Naoko, who turns her down flat. Naturally, they somehow wind up living together! ― Based on the late Kaoru Tada's 1990-1999 shoujo manga, Itazura na Kiss is both unusual and important in a couple of ways. The most striking is that, unlike many other shoujo romances, ItaKiss does not end with the main couple getti...
review

Meteor Prince GN 1

It's the age-old question: what would you do if a naked bishonen who turns out to be intergalactic royalty fell on your head? ― Meca Tanaka's third English release – Tokyopop translated Pearl Pink and CMX released Omukae Desu – isn't really a stand-out in terms of shoujo plotlines, but it's still totally adorable in its goodhearted joy. The story follows bad-luck magnet Hako, a high school first year...
review

Ben-To BD+DVD

It's an all-out brawl to determine who gets the day's half-priced bentos, and Theron Martin is preparing for battle. ― In an era when most non-kids' anime titles that air in Japan get licensed for simulcast streaming, this light novel-based fall 2011 series was an odd duck. That it was not picked up for simulcasting is quite surprising, given that its content should easily appeal to Western audiences...
review

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman GN

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman combines space cops and science with idols and Earth cops to provide a story that mixes adventure with a little social commentary. ― You've got to hand it to Akira Toriyama – he's still got it. Viz's release of his 2013 single-volume title shows us that the man behind Dragon Ball is still capable of telling a fun, entertaining story that can reach beyond its intended audie...
review

Bonjour Koiaji Pâtisserie Season One Streaming

It's a reverse harem set in a bakery, where a young girl in the flour of her youth is pursued by a bevy of baking bachelors. What more could you possibly want? ― Bonjour Koiaji Pâtisserie is one of those rare shorts where five minutes feels like it is just the right amount of time while also giving the impression of being more than that. It doesn't drag – rather it's that the storyline of each episod...
game review

Review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Dave Riley is on a mission to determine if the latest entry in Capcom's monster-slaying portable juggernaut is any more penetrable than the last. ― Monster Hunter's body language is the best in the business. Few games model the stages between an enemy being alive (and shooting) or dead (and in chunks), so saying that feels like half a compliment. But, amid the common complaints about how this series ...
review

Tales From Earthsea Blu-Ray

Studio Ghibli's most maligned film, a fantasy adventure based on the classic fantasy novels, arrives in HD. But is it really as bad as people say? Mike Toole investigates. ― I was intrigued when I heard that Studio Ghibli were targeting Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea books for adaptation. I read a couple of them in my youth, and they're good, sturdy fantasy adventure for young adults. Going from Howl's ...
review

Pom Poko (Blu-ray)

Isao Takahata's tale of wild tanuki coming together in the face of encroaching humanity comes to bluray, and Mike Toole has it in the bag. ― Isao Takahata does not shy away from complicated movies with tough endings. His Grave of the Fireflies is arguably the most powerfully sad war movie ever made, and his recent The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a slice of sweet melancholy. Pom Poko would appear to pr...
review

Porco Rosso Blu-ray

The Crimson Pig finally makes it to bluray, and Mike Toole takes a gander under the hood to find out if the disc brings home the bacon. ― The movie theater needs innovative and challenging storytelling, but it also needs great adventures. Long before he'd turned into something of a tale-spinning avatar for natural and spiritual forces in conflict with the human world, Hayao Miyazaki was really good a...
review

No. 6 GN 9

No. 6's final volume manages to be uplifting at the same time that it is taking vast swathes of pages to essentially just explain the truth about both the city and the story's world. ― If you felt that the No. 6 anime ended without fully explaining everything, you owe it to yourself to read the manga version. This final volume in this adaptation of Atsuko Asano's original novels is much more satisfyi...
review

Valvrave the Liberator Season One Blu-Ray

Valvrave the Liberator season one: is it good, so bad it's good, or just plain bad? Nick Creamer investigates. ― Valvrave the Liberator is a very silly show. You have to kind of accept this going in to get much out of it, but its relentless silliness never subsides, and never stops stifling any hopes for real emotional engagement. And it's not just that silliness is a complement to Valvrave's other v...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 2

The strengths (and weaknesses) of Genshiken are all on display, for better and worse, in this mid-range middle volume. ― One of Genshiken's greatest assets is its mastery of “comfy” character dynamics, and that's in full display in the best moments of this volume. The first chapter offers an excellent example of this - it depicts the Genshiken all hustling to help Ogiue finish her manga in time for C...
review

Ranma ½ Blu-Ray Set 3

Ranma 1/2 wraps up the third season and enters into the fourth, but the gender-bending sitcom just might be getting a little stale after 60 episodes. ― The third Blu-Ray set for Ranma ½ covers episodes 47-69 (by Viz Media's numbering), which spans the bulk of season 3 and the first six episodes of season 4. It returns the “Ukyo's Skirt” episode, which Viz had previously classified as episode 63 and m...
review

Fairy Tail BD+DVD

Fairy Tail wraps up a filler arc and heads back into the manga storyline in this uneven collection of magic-slingin' episodes. ― For all that the Infinity Clock arc wasn't in Hiro Mashima's original manga, it pulls itself together quite nicely. While the early episodes of it (part 11 and some of part 12) aren't particularly great, with a lot of clearly filler-feeling escapades, by about the middle of...

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