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review

Prince in His Dark Days GN 1

BL mangaka Hico Yamanaka makes the jump to shoujo with this bleak tale of a girl living in poverty roped into impersonating a missing rich boy. ― There's bleak, and then there's Atsuko's life in The Prince in his Dark Days. Everything about her life is drenched in misery: her mother is gone, her father, unable to cope with her loss, is an angry alcoholic, and there's not even enough money for Atsuko ...
review

Gundam Reconguista in G Sub.Blu-Ray

Yoshiyuki Tomino returns to the director's chair for the first time in over ten years for this unorthodox Gundam series, but has the franchise's creator lost his edge? Lauren Orsini investigates. ― The confusion that is Gundam Reconguista in G begins with the name. The word comes from the Spanish reconquista, or “reconquest” in English, but has been altered for a hard “G” sound, as director Yoshiyuki...
review

Assassination Classroom Season One Part Two BD+DVD

In the second half of this cult shonen hit's first season, Class E faces some of their greatest challenges yet! Rebecca Silverman breaks down the highs and lows. ― I hope that I can be as effective a teacher as Koro-sensei someday. Despite the fact that he's a giant tentacular octopus who destroyed the moon and threatens to do the same to the Earth, he also truly cares about his students and manages ...
review

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei!!

Theron Martin takes on the fourth installment of the Fate/kaleid franchise, which returns the series to a greater focus on story and action in a mysterious alternate world. ― At 12 episodes, the fourth installment of the Fate/kaleid liner franchise is its longest to date. It's apparently not the last installment in the franchise either, given the recent advertisement for an upcoming movie. That's goo...
review

Digimon Adventure tri. Episodes 9-13 Streaming

This nostalgic Digimon journey takes a dark turn in its third arc, but what do these melancholy twists mean for Adventure's final chapter? Jacob Chapman dives in. ― Growing up can be wonderful in many ways, but so far, Digimon Tri has just been exploring all the not-so-wonderful things about it. From Tai's realization that the war games he used to play as a child have permanent real-world consequence...
review

Doamygar-D Sub.DVD

Doamygar D offers simple but endearing riffs on classic super robot staples, two minutes at a time. Nick Creamer investigates. ― It's a little surprising to me that a show like Doamygar-D would get a western release at all. The show is unabashedly insular - starring a young Kyoto confectioner known as Daijiro Kyougoku, it riffs on super robot cliches from nearly half a century ago, mixing them with s...
review

Everyone's Getting Married GN 2

The second volume of this josei romance focuses on Ryu Nanami, who may have bigger issues than he thinks. Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― When we first met Asuka and Ryu, they were resisting falling for each other. Asuka has the old-fashioned dream of one day marrying and becoming a stay-at-home wife and mother, while Ryu, a popular newscaster, likes living life his way on his terms, none of which ...
review

Laughing Under the Clouds BD+DVD

This story of three brothers battling a mythological monster doesn't really take off until episode five, but once it gets going, it's worth the struggle. Rebecca Silverman explores this overlooked anime. ― Based on a six-volume manga by Karakara Kemuri (whose series Countdown 7 Days, Replica, and Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil have all been at least partially released in English), Laughing ...
review

Review: Shin Godzilla

Evangelion creator Anno Hideaki grapples with Japan's most famous radioactive monster in Shin Godzilla, a deeply political entry in the storied franchise. Mike Toole confronts the beast. ― Every time a western film studio steps into the ring to produce a Godzilla movie, it's inevitably followed by Toho spinning the franchise back up again, to show those silly foreigners how proper kaiju movies get ma...
review

The Heroic Legend of Arslan Season One Part One BD+DVD

This epic story of a prince who fights to regain his kingdom has great ambitions that its lead character struggles to support. Theron Martin weighs this legend's pros and cons. ― Stories about members of royalty who are violently deposed and must struggle to regain their kingdom have peppered storytelling for centuries, and anime is no different. Over the years, fantasy titles like Record of Lodoss W...
game review

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness

In this visual novel adventure, you take on the role of Investigator or Enforcer to help the heroes of Psycho-Pass solve gruesome cases. Can this game live up to the legacy of its franchise? ― In the future, superpowered AI monitor human psychological states, measuring their likelihood of committing criminal acts and meting out proactive justice to prevent those crimes from happening. Enforcers, dire...
review

Doukyusei -Classmates- Blu-Ray

This ethereal boys-love film dives right into the love confessions and intimacy and never turns back. Jacob Chapman explores what makes this Blu-Ray edition special. ― When I first heard Aniplex was going to start screening a critically and financially successful boys' love movie produced by A-1 Pictures in theaters, I was pretty puzzled. Boys' love, shonen-ai, yaoi, however you want to slice it, is ...
review

The Rolling Girls BD+DVD

Rolling Girls is a compelling but ultimately disappointing jumble of great ideas and rickety execution. Nick Creamer rolls out its pros and cons. ― The Rolling Girls is pretty much exactly the kind of show I want to believe in. Graced with a vivid visual aesthetic, centered on the poignant edge of adolescence, and framed as a rock and roll road trip through a fanciful alternate Japan, it breathes cre...
review

Goodnight Punpun GN 3

No one writes dark and difficult stories quite like Inio Asano, and the third omnibus of Goodnight, Punpun is no exception as Punpun prepares for high school. ― No one writes dark and difficult stories quite like Inio Asano. While there are tragic and depressing elements to his series, and those certainly abound in this latest omnibus edition of Goodnight Punpun, it wouldn't be fair to simply label h...
review

Wagnaria!!3 Sub.Blu-Ray 2

This long-running slice-of-life comedy reaches its conclusion in this volume, as burgeoning romances within the restaurant come to a head. Paul Jensen breaks down Wagnaria's last hurrah. ― Anime comedies, particularly those that overlap with the slice of life genre, often have trouble with endings. When the whole point of a series is to observe the everyday misadventures of a group of charming oddbal...
review

My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected Novel 1

The first novel that spawned the cult success anime series "My Teen Romcom SNAFU" is as divisive as it is unique. Rebecca Silverman weighs the ups and downs of Hachiman's adventure. ― As far as annoyingly unrealistic statements made to children by adults go, “these are the best years of your life” is probably one of the worst. Apart from the fact that you (hopefully) have a lot of life to live post-h...
review

Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon Blu-Ray part 2

The second half of this controversial series comes to Blu-ray, but can it wrap up all its wild plot twists in a satisfying way? Theron Martin investigates. ― Whatever your reaction was to the first 12 episodes of Cross Ange, your reaction to the last 13 episodes is unlikely to be any different. Those who found plenty to hate about the first half will find more things to despise in the second half, wh...
review

NTR Netsuzou Trap GN 1

Less sweet and consensual than most yuri series translated into English, NTR's first volume has some issues but is a decent read nonetheless. ― If you like your yuri sweet and focused on the emotional relationship between the protagonists, like in Whispered Words or Sweet Blue Flowers, NTR Netsuzou Trap is not the series for you. It has much more in common with Citrus in its more sexually aggressive ...
review

Yona of the Dawn GN 1

The source manga for the 2014 anime is finally available in English! With its focus on Su-Won and Hak, it offers an interesting look at the start of Yona's journey. ― Spoiler Warning: if you don't want to know the identity of Yona's betrayer before reading the book, perhaps skip this review. All of us know that life is full of changes, some good, some less so. Very few, however, actively plan for tho...
review

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace Blu-Ray

Although it's less a supernatural battle story and more a slice-of-life dramedy, this 2014 series still has a lot of fun to offer. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― If you go into When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace expecting a show about supernatural battles, you're probably going to be disappointed. This series, based on the inevitable light novels, is basically the introduction to a la...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Novel 6

This first novel of DanMachi to cover the story post-anime adaptation may be the best one yet! Theron takes a look. ― The 6th DanMachi novel marks the point where the main storyline fully extends beyond the 2015 anime adaptation, picking up just a couple of days after the 5th novel and anime both leave off. For those who loved the anime version but don't want to traipse through the rehashes of the fi...
review

World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman BD+DVD

It's another magic fighting high school series based on a light novel! Can World Break manage to cram six books worth of plot into a scant twelve episodes? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― At this point in anime history, light novel adaptations are inevitable. World Break debuted in the same season as Absolute Duo, Saekano: How To Raise a Boring Girlfriend, and The Testament of Sister New Devil, as wel...
review

Garo The Animation BD+DVD

Garo's second half offers an inconsistent narrative conclusion but satisfying action-packed entertainment that's well worth checking out. Nick Creamer has the details. ― Garo's first half offered a distinctive and engaging slice of fantasy-action. The show's vaguely Inquisition-era setting and beautiful art design matched perfectly with its sordid tale of justice and revenge, offering rip-roaring adv...
game review

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice

In Phoenix's sixth adventure, he travels abroad to take on cases in a country where defense attorneys have been outlawed! Todd Ciolek puts his own lawyer skills to the test. ― Phoenix Wright needs a vacation, a transfer, or to use apt terminology, a change of venue. Throughout five major Ace Attorney games and several spin-offs, Capcom's presented Wright with fiendishly complex murders, help in the f...
review

Love Live! The School Idol Movie Premium Edition Blu-Ray

The Love Live movie is finally out on home video, and Nick Creamer has the details on its shiny, sparkly premium edition! ― Love Live! has never been the most emotionally scouring or thematically challenging production. It's grasped at drama, with both of its seasons attempting to top themselves off with some kind of poignant internal dilemma, but these moments are almost uniformly the weakest parts ...
review

Komomo Confiserie GN 5

Komomo Confiserie is a nicely compact shojo romance of only five volumes, and this final book wraps things up very sweetly. ― Over the course of its five volumes, Maki Minami's Komomo Confiserie has touched on many of the various tropes that make shoujo manga recognizable – from the abusive love interest to the fanciful fashions to the Cinderella storyline. That in itself isn't particularly remarkabl...
review

The Asterisk War Novel 1

The first volume of The Asterisk War's original light novel series is a breezy read with more complex characterization than its adaptations. Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― I suspect that I'm not the only one who is sick of tsunderes, those characters who appear to be prickly and harsh on the outside but have warm, gooey, emotional centers. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover that not only is...
review

Absolute Duo BD+DVD

It seems like every new season is awash with light novel anime these days, but does Absolute Duo rise above the pack? Theron Martin breaks things down. ― This series' debut last year was not well-received here on ANN; its first episode was one of the lowest-rated of the season amongst ANN staff and readers alike (only World Break and Unlimited Fafnir fared worse), and it did not poll well enough to m...
review

My Hero Academia GN 5

My Hero Academia's strongest students face off in the sports festival finals, bringing many character arcs to an explosive climax. Nick Creamer explores this standout volume. ― What does it mean to stand in the shadow of those who've come before you? None of My Hero Academia's stars can avoid those shadows. Be it familial duty or simply the pro heroes chanting from the crowds, their past, present, an...
review

Barakamon BD+DVD

This down-to-earth slice-of-life comedy has some surprising insights about what it means to be an artist, with lots of laughs to be had along the way. Jacob Chapman dives in. ― Common wisdom regarding critics is often contradictory. "Everyone's a critic," but at the same time, "no one loves a critic." It might seem like madness at first, but it makes more sense when you consider that the creative pro...
review

Guilty Crown BD+DVD

This divisive and explosive mech series from Production I.G. and renowned animation director Tetsuro Araki definitely turned a few heads back in 2011, but is it any good today? Theron Martin investigates. ― In one of the included interviews for Funimation's rerelease of this series, one of the show's producers specifically mentions Neon Genesis Evangelion as a personal inspiration. That's not surpris...
review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-ray/DVD Set 1

Now that this divisive reboot of Naoko Takeuchi's beloved creation is out on Blu-ray, do the changes from the broadcast version enhance the material? Rebecca Silverman has the answers. ― Sailor Moon Crystal has received more than its fair share of criticism, much of it initially aimed at this first arc, the Dark Kingdom storyline. This Blu-ray/DVD release of the first fourteen episodes does a lot to ...
review

Yowamushi Pedal GN 3

This omnibus volume slows things down a bit from the heady days of the Welcome Race, but its exploration of the cast's emotions proves just as interesting. ― Competitive sports are a divisive pasttime, which is especially strange because they really don't have to be. Very few people are going to get into the sort of burning feud that Red Sox vs Yankees inspires over whether Dairy Queen or Baskin Robi...
review

Please tell me! Galko-chan Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Rose Bridges takes a look at this underrated short gag series from earlier in the year and discovers a surprisingly educational (and filthy) anime like nothing else out there. ― When I was in high school, there was one huge girls' bathroom in the main hallway. For some reason, there was no such equivalent for the guys. This place became a sort of social gathering spot for all the girls in school, reg...
review

Nisekoi 2 Sub.Blu-Ray 2

Nisekoi's second season comes to a close with no romantic resolution in sight, but is the journey more important than the destination? Theron Martin investigates. ― This release covers the second half of the series – episodes 7-12. This run of episodes is average by franchise standards, including both the weakest entries of the season and one of the strongest. Aside from a sad magical girl parody don...
review

That Wolf-Boy is Mine! GN 1

This first volume of Yoko Nagiri's supernatural shojo story is a cut above the pack thanks to its thoughtful take on old tropes. Rebecca Silverman takes a closer look. ― Literature is rife with mildly embarrassing titles obscuring really enjoyable books – just look at the romance section of any bookstore. Yoko Nagiri's That Wolf-Boy is Mine joins their ranks with this first volume. Despite its title,...
review

Charlotte Blu-Ray 1

Renowned visual novel writer Jun Maeda returns to anime for his first series since Angel Beats! Nick Creamer investigates the opening beats of Charlotte. ― Jun Maeda is one of the more high-profile creators in anime circles, though he didn't initially build his reputation in anime at all. Maeda is instead largely famous for his visual novels - he was a central player in building KEY's reputation, whe...
review

Kuroko's Basketball GN 1

Even though it gets off to a slow start, this compilation of Kuroko's Basketball's first two volumes lays a strong foundation for a story that will only get stronger as it grows. ― If you pick up one new shonen sports title this year, it should probably be Haikyu, but if you're in the mood for more than one, Kuroko's Basketball is definitely worth a look. That's not an entirely fair comparison, of co...
review

A Certain Magical Index II BD+DVD

Despite a bevy of pitfalls, the wide range of subplots explored in the final season of the Index franchise will definitely give fans plenty to chew on while they wait for more. Theron Martin dives in. ― The Certain Magical Index franchise has four anime series and one movie to date, of which this was the third installment, airing in Fall of 2010. Although I consider it to be the weakest series in the...
review

Corpse Party: Blood Covered GN 1

Corpse Party's manga adaptation isn't quite as good as it could be due to some issues with both art and story, but it still seems like it has potential. ― Based on the updated version of the horror visual novel/adventure game, Corpse Party: Blood Covered feels like When They Cry's younger sibling. It's trying really hard to hit all the same horror highlights, with some lighter moments thrown in to ke...
review

The Devil is a Part-Timer! GN 6

If you've been wondering what happened to Maou and his merry band post-anime, now's your chance to find out, when a mysterious little girl falls from the sky and claims the devil king as her father! ― Covering the first part of volume three of the novel series, volume six of The Devil is a Part-Timer's manga adaptation picks up pretty much where the anime left off. If you've been waiting for new mate...
review

Sweetness & Lightning GN 1

Comfort food takes on a new meaning in the endearing and adorable first volume of Sweetness & Lightning, even as it stumbles a little when combining its genres. ― Manga has always excelled at creating genres you might not have expected to see, much less enjoy, and Gido Amagakure's Sweetness & Lightning is no exception. It combines “single dad raising a daughter” literature with a cooking story, and t...
review

Yona of the Dawn Part Two BD+DVD

Yona's first season concludes open-ended, but the journey is still well worth the price of admission. Rebecca Silverman explores the twists and turns of this shojo adventure. ― If part one of Yona of the Dawn's anime adaptation was about Yona's journey from pampered princess to a young woman who could survive in the world, part two is about her realization of what she wants to do in that world as she...
review

My Monster Secret GN 2

Asahi's life gets more complicated when the monster secrets in his life just keep piling up! But as its harem expands, how does this offbeat romcom hold up overall? ― There's something inherently charming about a good manga romcom. You know the character relationships are probably going to stagnate, and you know any steps toward true romance will likely be walked back in a chapter's last few panels, ...
review

The Irregular at Magic High School Novels 1 & 2

Although it suffers from some overwriting, The Irregular at Magic High School's first two novels generally go to show that sometimes the book really is better. ― After the release of its anime version and two manga variants, the original light novels of Tsutomu Satou's The Irregular at Magic High School have arrived in English, courtesy of Yen On. While they aren't likely to win over any readers who ...
review

ReLIFE

This season's offbeat dramedy about an unemployed 27-year old getting a second chance at high school was released to Crunchyroll as a full series for binge viewing, but is it worth a 13-episode marathon? ― The Summer 2016 anime season has given us a number of unusual releases – one series that's only five episodes long (Planetarian), two concurrent series from the same franchise meant to be viewed si...
review

Queen Emeraldas GN 1

Queen Emeraldas runs the risk of only appealing to fans of Matsumoto or older manga, but it is worth giving a chance even if neither of those are within your usual purview. ― Technically, this review could simply consist of the words “lady space pirate” and possibly “Leiji Matsumoto” and pique a prior fan's interest in Queen Emeraldas. But as with most, if not all, Matsumoto titles, there's far more ...
review

Yatterman Night Sub.DVD

Despite some pitfalls along the way and a shaky final episode, Yatterman Night comes together well enough overall. Theron Martin explores this unusual reboot. ― The original Yatterman TV series aired in the late '70s as the second and longest installment of the Time Bokan franchise. It featured a 13-year-old boy and his like-aged girlfriend who took on the identities of Yatterman-1 and Yatterman-2 to...
review

Magi: Adventure of Sinbad

This Magi spinoff about Sinbad's early adventures has some rushed pacing problems, but its combination of adventure, humor, and backstory still tally up to a good time. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Thirty years before Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana meet in Balbadd, a boy was born in Parthevia to a wounded soldier and his wife. Does that sound a bit melodramatic? So is the very beginning of this spin...
review

Yurikuma Arashi BD+DVD

This yuri series of yesteryear can often be too weird for words, but its artistic ambition and thought-provoking ideas must be seen to be bear-lieved. Jacob Chapman explores this unusual gem. ― Yurikuma Arashi is a show about lesbians, written and directed by a man. For some people, this might not mean anything one way or the other. Countless other yuri anime have been written or directed by men, alo...
review

Ten Count GN 1

Despite a slightly uncomfortable premise, Ten Count's first volume treats its characters well in a slow but enjoyable first volume. ― Upon simply hearing the premise of Rihito Takarai's Ten Count, you could be forgiven for worrying that it would be just another exploitative yaoi series driven by an unequal relationship. That, however, would be allowing yourself to miss out on at least a first volume ...
review

Lucky Star Blu-Ray

Lucky Star took the otaku world by storm and became a sensation nearly a decade ago - now that the entire series is out on bluray, how does it hold up? Nick Creamer takes it on. ― It's difficult to conceive of a show that better exemplifies “a product of its time” than Lucky Star. Airing just one year after the mega-hit The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, it was the first dedicated slice-of-life serie...
review

Wandering Island GN 1

From its sweeping scenes of a biplane's flight to its mystical adventure plot, Wandering Island's first volume is the kind of book you can get lost in. Rebecca Silverman explores its depths. ― Whether you call it Brigadoon, Shangri-La, or Electric Island, legends and dreams of a mystical place just slightly removed from reality abound in both fiction and folklore. This fabled paradise is the backbone...
review

When They Cry: Rei Blu-Ray

These five bonus episodes in the Higurashi franchise may not be must-see, but they're a neat treat for fans looking to spend a little more time in Hinamizawa. ― Spoiler Warning for the ending of When They Cry: Kai Based on a fan disc released in late 2006, this 2009 OVA is the third of five When They Cry anime – the remaining two are When They Cry: Kira (licensed by Sentai but with no release date ye...
review

Black Clover GN 1 & 2

Despite its reputation, Black Clover isn't the worst manga ever, but it sure is clumsy! Rebecca Silverman breaks down where this shonen adventure stumbles. ― How picky should we be when a new series feels like a compilation of series we've read before? To a degree, it really depends on how well the new one melds its influences together; after all, prevailing wisdom says that there are only six plots ...
review

Under the Dog

Kinema Citrus' action-packed dystopian sci-fi adventure is available now to the folks who helped get it made, so it's time for Mike Toole to dive in. Does the film live up to its lofty expectations? ― Full disclosure: I backed Under the Dog on Kickstarter at the “special agent” level. Look for my name in tiny print in the credits! Just two years ago, I sat in a packed ballroom at Otakon, waiting to h...
review

Re:ZERO Novel 1

This first volume of the light novel behind the hit anime series is finally available in English, but are Subaru's earliest adventures still worth reading? Theron Martin breaks it down. ― The Re:Zero anime has become a low-key hit over the past two seasons, so naturally the first of its source novels is now being released in the States. Given the timing, the novel was probably slated to come out rega...
review

A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd Sub.Blu-Ray +DVD

This overlooked harem anime from 2014 has more charm than meets the eye. Rebecca Silverman details what makes this forgotten series special. ― A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd is not a title designed to catch you with its first episode. The show begins by introducing us to Kyotaro Kakei, a self-contained bookworm with the ticket to a magical library given to him by a mysterious man in his childh...
review

QQ Sweeper GN 3

It's the end of one story and the beginning of another in QQ Sweeper's final volume. Rebecca Silverman explores this abrupt conclusion. ― This is the final volume of QQ Sweeper, and that's a mixed thing. On the one hand, there's something wonderful about a series so short you can read it in its entirety in one sitting. On the other, this particular series doesn't end, but rather finishes the storylin...
review

Shonen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 50 Sub.DVD

Shonen Hollywood continues to demonstrate its unique strengths as it moves into its final season. Nick Creamer has the details. ― Shonen Hollywood has always been an unusual idol show. Some entries in the genre do dabble in the ugliness hidden behind the industry's glamor, but many of the show's most popular entries focus on a significantly idealized version of showbiz. Love Live sidesteps the issue ...
review

Plastic Memories Sub.Blu-Ray Part 1

This sci fi drama about expiring androids is good at bringing the waterworks, but struggles when it comes to the lighter side of things. Theron Martin breaks it down. ― Though I am a sucker for anime tearjerkers, I can easily count on one hand the number of series to get an emotional reaction out of me from their first episode. This original series from the Spring 2015 season is one of them. The firs...
review

The Asterisk War GN 1

The Asterisk War's manga adaptation makes a perfectly serviceable debut, even if this magic high school adventure is nothing unique. Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― If you've ever read or watched a Magic High School story before, you'll immediately be able to draw parallels to The Asterisk War. That's not because the manga adaptation of Yuu Miyazaki's light novel series isn't good, but rather becau...
review

Kagerou Daze Novel 4

Kagerou Daze is slowly improving as a series, but it continues to suffer from less than stellar writing and unlikable characters. Rebecca Silverman breaks down this twisted story. ― Kagerou Daze has the dubious distinction of being one of the most difficult light novels currently being published in English to follow. In part, this is due to the dense language of the first two books, although that tha...
review

Liselotte & Witch's Forest GN 1

This fantasy romance from Fruits Basket creator Natsuki Takaya weaves a magical blend of sweetness and melancholy, but can it stand apart from her previous work? Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― Despite several of her other works being translated and released in English, Natsuki Takaya remains best known for her series Fruits Basket, whose light fantasy premise hid surprising emotional depths. Lisel...
review

Kuromukuro Episodes 1-13 Streaming

This Netflix-licensed spring season anime is finally available for streaming! Was this mecha adventure worth the wait? Theron Martin takes a look. ― We've seen anime about a person from the present being catapulted into the future to become an ace mecha pilot before (see Buddy Complex, among possibly others), but a person from the past coming to the present instead? That's certainly a new twist. It's...
review

UQ Holder! GN 7

As the stakes and strengths of his opponents climb impossibly high, Tota finally finds himself faced with a real challenge in this seventh volume of Ken Akamatsu's action manga. ― UQ Holder has had a rocky journey up until now, and much of that has come down to the manga's awkward fundamental assumptions. Tota lies near the heart of the story's various problems; not only is he actually immortal, but ...
review

Selector Spread WIXOSS BD+DVD

This first installment in the WIXOSS franchise comes to a close, with shocking reveals and mixed results. Theron Martin takes a look at what's in the cards for this series going forward. ― Despite its partial name change, this 12 episode series from the Fall 2014 season is a direct follow-up to Selector Infected Wixoss. It assumes and requires full familiarity with Infected for it to make sense, so t...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 8

As Genshiken plows further and further into harem romcom territory, Nick Creamer weighs the pros and cons of putting these characters in an increasingly meta situation. ― Genshiken's claim to fame has always been its ability to capture the unvarnished humanity of its otaku heroes. Whether they were heading to a comics festival or arguing about pairings or introducing one of their members to a new hob...
review

So Cute It Hurts!! GN 7

So Cute It Hurts is still likely to send you into sugar shock, even though its final pages take things in a disturbing direction. Rebecca Silverman breaks down the twists and turns. ― As far as cross-dressing characters in manga go, Megumu Kobayashi may be one of the least convincing. Go Ikeyamada has a somewhat checkered history with that (one of her previous series, Uwasa no Midori-kun, has an even...
review

Den-noh Coil Blu-Ray

Despite taking nine years to be released in English, this unique series about how augmented reality tech could change the world is more timely now than ever. Theron Martin dives in. ― Den-noh Coil is an original anime production and the brainchild of Mitsuo Iso, a name that even dedicated anime fans probably aren't familiar with unless they are steeped in knowledge of key animators. (He has done work...
review

Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto GN 4

Sakamoto walks off into the sunset in this final volume of Nami Sato's breakout comedy manga. But do Sakamoto's adventures come to a surprisingly emotional conclusion instead? ― It's hard to believe, but with this volume of Nami Sato's breakout manga, our time with Sakamoto comes to an end. Whether it was planned this way or not, each volume ends up representing one season of Sakamoto's school life, ...
review

Gundam Build Fighters Blu-Ray

Lauren Orsini takes a look at the first Gundam series revolving completely around Gunpla models. Is there secretly much more to this series underneath its toy commercial polish? ― Let's address the elephant in the room: Gundam Build Fighters is a toy commercial. However, it's an amazing toy commercial with beautiful animation, innovative mecha designs, humor, and heart—one that I want to watch again ...
review

The Empire of Corpses BD+DVD

When young John Watson's friend dies, he tries to replicate Frankenstein's reanimation of a corpse in this darkly fascinating 19th-century adventure from Studio Wit. So how does this unusual horror tale turn out? ― When Mary Shelley published her novel Frankenstein in 1818, I wonder if she had any idea how enduring it would become. The tale of Dr. Victor Frankenstein's efforts to create life from dea...
review

Assassination Classroom BD+DVD Part One

Assassination Classroom takes its bizarre premise to surprisingly sentimental heights in its first eleven episodes. Rebecca Silverman explores just what makes this shonen story so special. ― It isn't a perfect comparison, but in many ways Assassination Classroom is like a combination of Dead Poets' Society and Akame ga Kill. That's what you get when you take a story about a strange, smiley-faced mult...
review

The Boy and The Beast BD+DVD

The Boy and the Beast is a disjointed but ultimately endearing story redeemed by the strength of its central father-son relationship. Nick Creamer breaks down this film's highs and lows. ― Mamoru Hosoda has a thing or two to say about families. Big families, like the one headlined in Summer Wars, which essentially posited “what if we made this film's protagonist an entire, multi-generational extended...
review

Wagnaria!!3 Sub.Blu-Ray Part 1

Wagnaria kicks off its third season with the same gentle workplace comedy antics, but have things already begun to change in this more eventful series of episodes? Paul Jensen dives in. ― It feels very appropriate for Wagnaria to take place in a diner-style restaurant, as the series has several things in common with the kind of food you'd expect to find at such a place. It may not be the best thing i...
review

Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon Blu-Ray 1

This controversial mecha action show finally lands on bluray - Theron Martin takes it for another spin to see how it holds up after a year. ― Cross Ange is an anime-original series which focuses on sexy female mecha pilots and is squarely aimed at a male audience. Yona of the Dawn is a fantasy series based on a shojo manga and decidedly skewed towards a female audience. Despite the differing origins,...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 6: Dawn of the Golden Witch Volume 1 GN 13

Umineko heads into meta territory as a new gamemaster takes over. While the mystery rapidly intensifies, real answers finally feel like they're just around the corner. ― And here we are again. This omnibus begins the sixth cycle of Ryukishi07's Umineko: When They Cry manga, which is the second of four “answer” arcs. This is the first time Battler's been in charge of the story, having defeated Beatric...
review

My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is a sturdy and consistently rewarding start to the hit shounen adventure, even if it’s not quite as explosive it could have been. Nick Creamer breaks down its strengths and weaknesses. ― Debuting just two 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 master...
review

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign BD+DVD

This vampire-slashing action adventure succeeds as reliable popcorn entertainment, but does it have any ambitions beyond the same old predictable blood and spectacle? Theron Martin investigates. ― This release covers the first half of the 24-episode adaptation of Takaya Kagami's manga, which aired on TV in Japan during the Spring 2015 season. In many respects, it is a very typical Weekly Shonen Jump ...
review

Space Patrol Luluco

Space Patrol Luluco is an uneven but often charming journey into first love and hot-blooded justice. ― Hiroyuki Imaishi's name is almost synonymous with the Studio Trigger brand. After providing dynamic key animation and highlights like FLCL's manga sequences early in his career, he became the flagship director for Gainax's last big hits, handling Gurren Lagann and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt ...
review

Haikyu!! GN 1

Haikyu's first volume is just as much about the players as the sport of volleyball as Hinata and Kageyama meet, hate each other, and have to learn to get along if they're ever going to be able to play as a team. ― For non-athletes, it can be difficult to understand the draw of a sports story, and if your memories of gym class (or volleyball) are mostly made up of getting a ball to the face or being p...
review

Psycome Novel 1

Mizuki Mizushiro's parody of the "special school" and harem genres can be kind of gruesome, but it succeeds more than it fails as a twisted satire. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― Psycome is not a novel for the faint of heart. Featuring a hero framed for the brutal murders of twelve people and set in a school/penitentiary, there are plenty of moments of physical violence and references to rape. If you c...
review

School-Live! GN 3

This volume of the manga approaches the end of School-Live's anime-adapted material, but also gets the opportunity to flesh out the world of this zombie apocalypse in greater detail. ― How does the world end? For the four heroines of School-Live's zombie/moe mashup, it ends not with the zombie apocalypse, but with the threat of a simple mistake and a few secrets that perhaps should never have been ke...
review

Battle Rabbits GN 1

Not-so-ordinary high school boy Kaguya is about to have his world changed when he learns that he's actually a Battle Rabbit, a race of rabbit people from the moon charged with protecting the Earth in this bizarre but fun new series from the creators of 07-Ghost. ― Seven Seas has made a practice of licensing monster girl manga series, so now it's time for something a little different – a monster boy. ...
review

Complex Age GN 1

Complex Age presents a thoughtful look at how hobbies, such as the heroine's cosplay, can affect the so-called real world in a first volume that promises an interesting series to come. ― Most of us maintain a separation between our work lives and our home lives. Many times that's because we simply need the emotional rest, but sometimes it's because our home lives involve hobbies that we'd just as soo...
review

7th Garden GN 1

7th Garden's implied future story is more interesting than its surface plot, but this is still an intriguing science fiction/fantasy hybrid with some beautifully detailed art. ― There's sometimes a very fine line between fantasy and science fiction, especially when it comes to basing that designation on the setting. Mitsu Izumi (who wrote the AnoHana manga)'s 7th Garden flirts with this line more and...
review

Everyone's Getting Married GN 1

Everyone's Getting Married is an interesting examination of relationship goals with nary a school uniform in sight. It won't work for everyone, but it's a neat take on the romance genre. ― A woman who wants to quit her job, get married, and be a housewife? Oh no! Is this manga promoting outdated notions of a “woman's place?” That's the easy knee-jerk reaction to Izumi Miyazono's Everyone's Getting Ma...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ Sub.Blu-Ray Collection 2

The formerly comedic MSG ZZ takes an unexpectedly dark turn in its divisive second half. Lauren Orsini explores what went wrong for this unusual Gundam entry. ― In the first half of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, there were already signs that this comedy show was verging toward a major tonal shift. If the joking tone was already jarring after the grim events of its prequel, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, this show...
review

Don't Be Cruel [2-in-1 Edition] GN 1

This boys' love double feature contains two complete different stories that happen to star the same characters. Rebecca Silverman examines which of these two romantic tales outshines the other. ― This may sound disingenuous, but Don't Be Cruel's first two-volume omnibus really is two different books. By this I mean that while volumes one and two are about the same characters, the stories they're invo...
review

Shonen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 49 Sub.DVD

Shonen Hollywood takes a more down-to-earth approach to the idol anime business, but does it succeed in finding its own voice? Nick Creamer investigates. ― Shonen Hollywood is reflective of two major emergent trends in anime: shows about idols and shows about attractive young men aimed at a largely female audience. Given that, it'd be easy for many fans to dismiss the show as “not their thing,” parti...
review

Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! BD+DVD

This lighthearted parody of otaku fetishes has its moments, but there may be only so many pigtail jokes you can pack into twelve episodes. ― How much do you like pigtails, or twin-tails as they're known in anime? Probably not as much as Soji, the protagonist of Gonna be the Twin-Tail, one of the weirder otaku parodies to come out in recent years. Soji is obsessed with the hairstyle to the point where...
review

Fairy Tail BD+DVD 20

The beginning of the Tartaros Arc marks a dark shift in tone for the adventures of Natsu and friends. Rebecca reflects on what changes the anime has made to the even grimmer manga version of these events. ― The Tartaros Arc of Fairy Tail is one of the darkest thus far – and that's toning it down quite a bit from the manga. While this show usually takes what I think of as the Soul Calibur Approach to ...
review

Orange (live-action film)

The critically acclaimed shojo manga Orange is getting an anime adaptation this summer, but Theron Martin has a review of the live-action movie right now! How does this romantic tale translate to the big screen? ― The first two volumes of Ichigo Takano's manga have already been released in the States, and its anime adaptation is one of the most anticipated shows of the Summer 2016 season. Before the ...
review

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time BD+DVD

Beloved anime director Mamoru Hosoda's first original feature has a brand-new Blu-ray special edition, but how has the film held up over time? Nick Creamer takes a look back into the past to find out. ― Mamoru Hosoda, along with Makoto Shinkai, has the dubious honor of often being referred to as the “next Miyazaki.” There's no real meaning to this description, of course - it generally just means “an ...
review

Nisekoi: 2 Blu-Ray Part One

Nisekoi continues with an underachieving set of episodes that drive the series further into harem territory. Theron Martin explores what this sequel gets right. ― Nisekoi: is the 12 episode 2015 follow-up to 2014's Nisekoi, and familiarity with the predecessor series is expected. (The intervening OVAs, which are not available in English in any official form, are less important, since some of their ev...

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