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review

Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil

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

Genshiken: Second Season GN 9

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

Fate/Apocrypha — Episodes 1-3

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

School-Live! Blu-Ray

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

Haruchika: Haruta & Chika BD+DVD

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

Kakegurui — Episodes 1-3

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

Outlaw Star BD+DVD

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

Review: Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!

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

Kakegurui GN 1

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

Spice & Wolf Novel 18

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

Tokyo Ghoul (Live-Action Film)

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

Black Butler: The Movie BD+DVD

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

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

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

Castlevania

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

Review: Mary and the Witch's Flower

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

KanColle: Kantai Collection BD+DVD

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

Vinland Saga GN 8

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

A Bride's Story GN 8

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

Little Witch Academia Episodes 1-13 Streaming

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

Mobile Suit Gundam MS Igloo Blu-Ray Collection

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

Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn BD+DVD

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

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto

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

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 8

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

Cage of Eden GN 21

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

Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga

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

Shonen Maid BD+DVD

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

STARMYU Sub.Blu-Ray + DVD

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

Valkyria Revolution

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

Gangsta. BD+DVD

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

In Another World With My Smartphone Novel 1

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

Kase-san and Morning Glories GN

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

My Monster Secret GN 5

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

The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Scars They Left Behind Novel

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

Dagashi Kashi BD+DVD

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

My Hero Academia - Season One Limited Edition BD+DVD

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

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

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

Endride BD+DVD part 1

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

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Novel 3

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

Tokyo Ghoul GNs 11-13

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

your name. [Hardcover] Novel

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

Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions BD+DVD

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

The Water Dragon's Bride GN 2

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

Gosick Part One BD+DVD

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

After all these years, is this trilogy still the best introduction to the Gundam universe? Lauren Orsini explains what makes these films timeless classics, now available on Blu-Ray for the first time. ― Not long ago, I went to a sold-out showing of the first Mobile Suit Gundam movie at the Japanese Information and Cultural Center, a branch of the Japanese Embassy here in Washington DC. The theater wa...
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My Monster Secret GN 4

My Monster Secret runs through a bevy of romcom staples in its fourth volume, bringing some personality to potentially tired stories. Nick Creamer digs in. ― My Monster Secret has established its romcom platform at this point. Having started off with the classic will-they-or-won't-they bond between Asahi and Shiragami, the manga has proceeded to introduce the requisite romantic rivals, perverted frie...
review

Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic (English Dub)

Black Butler's feature film debut brings titanic stakes to the big screen, but its animation quality might leave you somewhat high and dry. Rose Bridges has the details on this English dub premiere. ― It's an interesting time to be a Black Butler fan, watching the anime franchise redefine itself as a horror anthology series. In the first two seasons, Sebastian and Ciel had plenty of one-off adventure...
review

Dreamin' Sun GN 1

This earlier work from the creator of Orange isn't quite as polished, but it combines an honest look at depression and anger with shoujo romance tropes in interesting ways. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Originally published in Margaret magazine in 2007, a transfer of rights to a new publisher has resulted in a re-release of Ichigo Takano's Dreamin' Sun and its translation into English. (Takano...
review

Prince of Stride: Alternative BD+DVD

This otome game adaptation eschews most reverse harem tropes in a surprisingly fun story about a bizarre blend of track and parkour. Rebecca Silverman gets into this show's Stride. ― If you were wondering, the “alternative” in Prince of Stride Alternative comes from the fact that this 2016 series is based on a 2015 otome game simply called Prince of Stride. That's mildly surprising, because the show ...
review

Horus: Prince of the Sun (Little Norse Prince) Blu-Ray

The directorial debut of Isao Takahata is now available on Blu-Ray for the first time. Theron Martin details how this ambitious film has held up. ― Also known in English as Little Norse Prince Valiant, this 1968 movie holds a place in anime history for two important reasons. It marks the directorial debut of Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata and his first collaboration with Hayao Miyazaki, who i...
review

Sound of the Sky Sub.Blu-Ray

Sound of the Sky marries wartime drama and slice of life storytelling in a rich and beautiful mix. Nick Creamer explains what makes this series special. ― Sound of the Sky opens with new soldier Kanata Sorami heading off to her first post, a guard post at the border city of Seize. Stark cliffs and cozy tiled roofs introduce us to her new city, a rustic town that's currently in the middle of a festiva...
review

Lu over the wall

Masaaki Yuasa's first family film may seem strangely similar to Ponyo at first, but it has a handful of charms all its own. Kim Morrissey weighs the movie's pros and cons. ― When Masaaki Yuasa, the auteur behind Ping Pong the Animation and The Tatami Galaxy, announced that he would be making not one but two anime feature films, there were a fair number of question marks. With his superflat drawings a...
review

Uncomfortably Happily GN

Yeon-Sik Hong's autobiography of his move from Seoul to the mountains explores the difficulty of adapting to rural living and his efforts to become an adult. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Yeon-Sik Hong's Uncomfortably Happily, originally published in two volumes in South Korea and here given the omnibus treatment by Drawn & Quarterly, is the sort of autobiographical piece that makes you think about y...
review

Corpse Party: Blood Covered GN 3

While a few big mysteries are starting to resolve, the logical gaps in this horror thriller are beginning to widen as well. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― With each subsequent omnibus edition of Corpse Party: Blood Covered, the decision to release the series as two-in-one volumes makes more sense. Not that the game adaptation isn't capable of holding our attention, but the major plot points app...
review

The Asterisk War [Limited Edition] Blu-Ray 4

The Phoenix Festa comes to a close as The Asterisk War wraps up its second season. Did this magic high school light novel adaptation ever manage to break out into something more? Rebecca Silverman explains. ― The Asterisk War has made repeated mention of the corporations that run the world in lieu of governments (the IEF) over the course of its two seasons, but without really digging in too deeply. N...
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Delicious in Dungeon GN 1

Equal parts fantasy RPG and cooking manga, Delicious in Dungeon finds fresh culinary uses for all those pesky basilisks and slimes! Theron Martin digs in. ― Jokes about cooking and eating critters encountered in a dungeon have been around nearly as long as tabletop fantasy RPGs themselves. However, these have almost always been one-shot gags in D&D-themed comics. To my knowledge, this is the first no...
review

Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi - Seasons 1 & 2 + OVAs DVD

This 2011 boys-love series plays by the book a little too much, but there's still enough sweetness and unique flavor here for fans of the genre. Rebecca Silverman weighs in on the full series release. ― Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi - The World's Greatest First Love, based on the manga of the same name by Shungiku Nakamura, originally aired in 2011, but its 2017 release on DVD is surprisingly well-timed; as of...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 6: Dawn of the Golden Witch Volume 3 GN 15

The episode ends with a return to form as Ryukishi07 plays with both Knox's Commandments and S.S. Van Dine's Rules for mystery. ― Dawn of the Golden Witch may be simultaneously the least conclusive arc of Umineko: When They Cry and the one that gives us the most hints at real answers. This especially large omnibus volume does finish the arc, but it also gives us an incomplete game – Battler is unable...
review

Snow White with the Red Hair 2 BD+DVD

The second season of this charming fairytale romance finally comes to Blu-Ray! Theron Martin details what makes this particular shojo adaptation so special. ― The second season of Snow White with the Red Hair aired during the Winter 2016 season, covering episodes 13-24. Given the firm declaration of commitment from Zen near the end of the previous season and Shirayuki's generally secure position as a...
review

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma GN 18

Food Wars is still going strong as the Polaris Dorm gets ready to take on Azami Nakiri's corrupt new administration. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― There is rarely a dull moment in Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki's Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma manga, and while there's a small breather between storylines of this volume, the action is as intense as ever despite the climbing volume numbers. This eight...
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UQ Holder! GN 9

UQ Holder’s ninth volume makes the most of its prolonged training arc material. Nick Creamer weighs the pros and cons of Ken Akamatsu's latest series. ― UQ Holder has always been an inherently strange shounen property. With its focus on a team of heroes who are all gifted with some form of immortality, the manga has at time had trouble offering compelling opponents for its protagonists. And main char...
review

Miss Hokusai BD+DVD

Miss Hokusai demonstrates the power of articulating life as it is lived, presenting a rich portrait of both its historical moment and its charming heroine. ― The great painter Hokusai is one of the most famous and internationally renowned artists in Japanese history. Responsible for works as recognized as The Great Wave off Kanigawa (itself an element of the vastly influential 36 Views of Mount Fuji)...
review

Gleam GN 1

This princess is more interested in actually ruling and political intrigue than finding a prince in this first volume of Aya Shirosaki's shoujo manga. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Gleam is the second manga release from e-publisher Cross Infinite World (the first being Little Hero), and a totally different bird from their usual fare. Where before all of their series featured ordinary girls bei...
review

Murciélago GN 1 & 2

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

Blame! movie

Appearing on Netflix at the same time as its theatrical premiere, this sci fi thriller from Polygon Pictures boasts more flair than bite. Theron Martin has the details. ― With Tsutomu Nihei's Knights of Sidonia manga being adapted into a CG anime series, it's no wonder that there would be interest in adapting his earliest project: the 1998 cyberpunk manga Blame! Although it was adapted into a series ...
review

Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest Novel 1

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

Sword Art Online Novel 10

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

Hatsune Miku: Bad∞End∞Night GN 1

This scattered volume proves that basing a manga on a Vocaloid song might not be the best idea. Rebecca Silverman explains why. ― Like Kagerou Daze, Bad End Night is based on a Vocaloid song. Unfortunately, that appears to be a premise too thin for an entire volume of manga, much less a series, and this volume can't quite decide if it's a mystery, a spoof on the “bad endings” of visual novels, or sel...
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Void's Enigmatic Mansion GN 5

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

Studio Ghibli and Polygon Pictures' CG TV series may look a little different than expected, using CG models rather than traditional animation, but there's still magic in the story being told. ― Studio Ghibli's first television series is based on Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren's 1981 novel of the same name, Ronja the Robber's Daughter, and it doesn't want you to forget it. The dub script is...
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My Brother's Husband GN 1

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

K: Missing Kings BD+DVD

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

Complex Age GNs 3 & 4

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

My Hero Academia GN 8

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

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

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

Smokin' Parade GN 1

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

Momotaro, Sacred Sailors BD+DVD

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

Attack on Titan: Junior High BD+DVD

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

Review: The Red Turtle

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

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

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

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 7

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

Goblin Slayer Novel 2

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

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

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

Steins;Gate: The Movie BD+DVD

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

The Betrayal Knows My Name Sub.DVD

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

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

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

BAKEMONOGATARI: Monster Tale Novel 1

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

School-Live! GNs 4-6

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

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (compilation movies)

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

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

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

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory Blu-Ray

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

Dragon Quest Heroes II

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

Scrapped Princess BD+DVD

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

That Wolf-Boy is Mine! GN 4

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

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

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

There's a Demon Lord On the Floor GN 1

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

Paying to Win in a VRMMO Novels 1 & 2

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

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