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review

Prison School BD+DVD

Prison School is a gleefully gross adventure that succeeds by embracing its own smutty soul. Nick Creamer has the details. ― It's hard to say what makes for a “good fanservice show.” After all, some of the things that people seek from fanservice run directly counter to the qualities generally valued in other shows. Gratuitous fanservice tends to ruin an audience's ability to take a story or its chara...
review

Psychic School Wars BD+DVD

Despite its title, this little-known 2012 movie is more character drama than action-adventure. Theron Martin takes a look at this low-key gem. ― The story behind this 2012 movie is not a recent one; it's based on a 1973 sci fi novel which saw four live-action TV adaptations and two live-action movie adaptations scattered across the '80s and '90s, but the prominent role that cell phones play in both t...
review

Ladies versus Butlers! Blu-Ray

This harem comedy from the late 2000s was a late bloomer for Western release, but is it still worth a watch after years in limbo? Theron Martin investigates. ― Some series are innovators within their genre, while others are mere followers. This 2010 adaptation of a light novel series is decidedly the latter. Even though it came relatively early in the wave of super-heavy fanservice shows of the late ...
review

Tohyo Game: One black ballot to you GN 1

Tohyo Game borrows a little too heavily from very recognizable sources for its horror plot, making this a weaker debut than it should have been. ― It isn't always easy to find the perfect metaphor for the kind of bullying that pervades the high school experience. Numerous manga authors have tried, with perhaps the most effective series being A Silent Voice due to its emotional honesty. We can't blame...
review

In/Spectre GN 1

Despite some organizational issues, interesting characters and premise carry the first volume of this story about individuals with unusual connections to yokai. ― According to the author's notes included at the end, this manga is actually the adaptation of a 2011 novel originally titled Invented Inference: Steel Idol Nanase, which has not, to my knowledge, even been licensed yet for an English releas...
review

Please Tell Me! Galko-chan GN 1

The conversations are never dull and quite often raunchy in this non-cloying take on high school girl humor. ― There's a myth that has somehow endured about how girls are less "gross," less preoccupied with bodily functions than boys. Please Tell Me! Galko-chan is here to help deconstruct that misconception. Not that this is any sort of deliberately informative work; Kenya Suzuki's short-form manga, ...
review

Jinsei: Life Consulting Sub.Blu-Ray + DVD

Jinsei is a bare-bones slice-of-life comedy and not much else. Nick Creamer breaks down whether this humble show is worth checking out. ― Some shows feel like they're just barely even there. You can watch them run for twelve or thirteen episodes, but by the time you come out the other end, you're not even really sure you've watched anything at all. They hew so closely to what is minimally expected of...
review

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service [Omnibus] GN 1

Gabriella Ekens steps into a world of both horror and comedy with the adventures of the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, now in special collectors' omnibus form. ― It takes something special for a procedural to stand out from the pack nowadays. When half of what comes out is some variation on “[blank] solves crimes,” you have to have something good to sell your variation on the formula. Published in...
review

Psycome Novel 2

Psycome loses its way a bit in a second volume that focuses too much on the "comedy" and not enough on the "psycho." ― Authors' afterwards in light novels can be anything from sneakily informative to long lists of rambling thanks, so you could be forgiven if you usually skip them. Mizuki Mizushiro's epilogue to the second volume of Psycome, however, is definitely in the former category; Mizushiro men...
review

Honey So Sweet GN 4

Honey So Sweet continues to live up to its title in this fourth volume, even though a bit of angst is rearing its dangerous head. ― If Horimiya is the sweetest shounen romance currently being published in English, Honey So Sweet is its shoujo equivalent. Amu Meguro's story about an adorably awkward high school couple is much tamer than its shounen counterpart and at times sweet enough to rot your tee...
review

Girls und Panzer der Film

The Girls und Panzer movie may not be Shakespeare, but it sure is fun! Nick Creamer discusses the dub premiere of this diamond in the rough. ― Tsutomu Mizushima is not an arthouse director. In contrast with those directors who generally leave a clear aesthetic signature on their productions, or who impart all their works with some socially relevant commentary, Mizushima's work is defined by polish, m...
review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 GN 4

The finale of the Battle Tendency arc is an amazing combination of insane fighting and Victorian melodrama as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure continues to impress. ― The world of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a strange one, even by the standards of shounen or seinen battle manga. Part of this is the necessary supernatural element of the story – the hamon, the Pillar Men's powers and lifespans, and the amazing...
review

Sword Art Online: Progressive Novel 4

A long-overdue split between Kirito and Asuna's viewpoints results in the best and most complete novel of the series to date. Theron Martin dives in. ― Volumes 2 and 3 of the Progressive series were told entirely from Kirito's viewpoint, which I felt was a disservice to his co-star Asuna. That changes with this volume, making it the best and most complete story to date for this branch of the franchis...
review

Konosuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! GN 1

As a parody of the swords-and-sorcery fantasy genre, Konosuba is worth checking out if you need a laugh. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― They say that life doesn't always work out the way you planned. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but other times, not so much. Kazuma Sato falls into the latter category courtesy of a fate with a rotten sense of humor. Normally a teenage shut-in, Kazuma dared to ve...
review

My Hero Academia GN 6

My Hero Academia’s sixth volume sees the manga returning to a stable rhythm in the wake of its first true peak. ― My Hero Academia's school tournament arc was a staggering high point for the series so far. Matching clever, fast-paced battles with poignant personal stories, it further humanized a solid subset of the manga's immense cast while never letting up as immediate entertainment. It was essenti...
review

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Novel 2

Things keep getting worse for ol' Subaru in the second Re:ZERO novel, which also introduces everyone's favorite twin maids, Ram and Rem! ― Immortality sounds great, but it's much more of a double-edged sword. Usually we see the sadder side of it in literature, such as Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, but sometimes an author decides to go for the more depressing or frustrating aspects of the inabil...
review

To Love Ru Darkness 2 Sub.Blu-Ray

One of the most successful long-running fanservice franchises rolls out its fourth season. But how does Darkness 2 stack up against shinier new fanservice franchises of today? ― With 78 episodes spread amongst OVAs and four TV series (and a 79th pending in an upcoming OVA release), To Love-Ru is now the most expansive anime harem franchise that covers one single storyline. Over the course of eight ye...
review

Ten Count GN 2

Ten Count is a good story for its subgenre, but this may be the point where it will lose readers less willing to forgive its twisted take on love. Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― If you're studying or practicing psychology, or are just particularly well-informed on the subject, this is the volume of Ten Count that may make your skin begin to crawl. Whereas volume one was more focused on Shirotani b...
game review

Review: NES Classic Edition

This little console full of Nintendo nostalgia might be the most sought-after gadget of the holiday season! Todd Ciolek breaks down the NES Classic Edition and all 30 games available in its library. ― The Nintendo Entertainment System wasn't just a gray-and-black box that played video games. It was a paragon of late 1980s pastimes. Seizing an industry left vacant after a widespread collapse, Nintendo...
review

Super Mario Adventures GN

Super Mario Adventures is a fun trip down memory lane, but risks not appealing to those who missed out on the Nintendo Power era. It's time to do the Mario! ― Originally running over the course of 1992 in Nintendo Power magazine, Super Mario Adventures is the second of Viz's large-format, full-color collected editions of the magazine's nostalgic comics. That's really the chief appeal here – the nosta...
review

Cells at Work! GN 1

The immune system has never been so much fun in this educational manga about blood cells doing their jobs inside the human body. ― First there was Moyasimon, making bacteria cute. Now there's Cells at Work, anthropomorphizing blood cells as diligent workers, living inside little towns in your veins. Both manga have shared educational goals, but Cells at Work specifically focuses on the human immune s...
review

Rainy Cocoa Sub.DVD

Rainy Cocoa is about an hour's worth of cute and not much else. Rebecca breaks down this bite-sized oddity. ― Anime shorts can take a few different directions in terms of how they approach their stories. Some tell a complete tale in bite-size pieces, others eschew plot for random antics or sketches on a theme, and still others divide a relatively plotless story into a season's worth of episodes. Rain...
review

Complex Age GN 2

Complex Age continues its exploration of what a grown-up "should" be through the story of an adult woman cosplayer. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― For many of us who technically classify as “adults,” Complex Age is somewhere between “familiar” and “unsettling.” The story follows Nagisa, a woman in her twenties who is an avid cosplayer, making her own costumes, going to events, etc. She keeps her hobby...
review

In Search of the Lost Future BD+DVD

This VN adaptation squanders its interesting plot in a poorly-paced bid to cram in too many other story elements. Rebecca Silverman breaks down what went wrong. ― Light novels may have overtaken visual novels as anime source material lately, but their adaptations are still around, as In Search of the Lost Future reminds us. Based on the 2010 visual novel of the same name, the story follows the six me...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria Novel 1

This DanMachi side story explores the adventures of Aiz, but is it essential reading for franchise fans? ― The DanMachi franchise has been successful enough that a spin-off novel series should come as no surprise. And no other supporting character is as worthy of a new storyline focus as Aiz Wallenstein, the inscrutable savior, idol, and love interest of original protagonist Bell Cranel. The result i...
review

Tokyo Ghoul GN 7-9

Tokyo Ghoul cements its Gothic roots in these three volumes, which mark a major change for both Kaneki and the overall direction of the story. ― Tampering with the makeup of humanity, be it physical or psychological, has long been a subject of literary fascination. One of the first to take the idea in a specifically Gothic direction was Matthew Lewis' 1796 novel The Monk, which saw its lead character...
review

Review: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Blu-Ray

Ten years after it set the otaku world on fire, does Haruhi Suzumiya still hold up as a slice-of-life comedy adventure? Nick Creamer cracks open this time capsule. ― It can be difficult to picture now what a big deal The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya once was, with cosplay, fandom clubs, countless Hare Hare Yukai videos, and an overwhelming convention presence once dominating the scene. One of my fir...
review

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 6

As Naofumi struggles to get the other three heroes to understand that this is not a game, will he be the only one left standing when the battle's done? Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― Aneko Yusagi's The Rising of the Shield Hero light novel series has come a long way from when it began. Volume one was very much a standard transported-to-another-world fantasy with its major claim to fame being that ...
review

Review: A Silent Voice

Kyoto Animation's highly anticipated, lavishly-animated and epic-length adaptation of the smash hit manga A Silent Voice recently played the Scotland Loves Anime festival - and Kevin Cirugeda was there to see it! ― It's only appropriate that after announcing the plans for an anime adaptation – quickly detailed as a film – this project went silent for about a year. The idea of a beloved award-winning ...
review

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid GN 1

Tired of the guys getting all the monster girls? Here's a story about an unwitting female office worker who invites a dragon girl into her home! ― Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid may be yet another in the seemingly endless library of monster girl stories, but it distinguishes itself right away by being about a monster girl who moves in with an office worker rather than a young male college student. Koba...
review

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan BD+DVD

In this quirky spinoff of the 2006 otaku phenomenon, Yuki Nagato finds herself in the spotlight pursuing a romance with Kyon. How does Yuki-chan's adventure hold up compared to Haruhi's? ― This 16-episode series is based on a spin-off manga of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series. It's one of those “what if” tales, imagining how things might have played out if the people around origin...
game review

Dark Souls 3: The Ashes of Ariandel

The latest DLC for Dark Souls III sends Dave Riley to the Painted World of Ariandel, where he can't shake the feeling that he should be having a lot more fun with all this. ― Calling the Souls expansions “DLC” does them a disservice. Not at all similar to the micro transaction character skins and map addons the term calls to mind, Dark Souls' Artorias of the Abyss and Bloodborne's The Old Hunters are...
review

ERASED Blu-Ray 1

Erased's first half delivers an interesting take on a time travel murder mystery. Rebecca Silverman breaks down this new deluxe release. ― Many people have a moment they wish they could return to in order to do just one thing differently. Sometimes it's just to say good-bye to someone who won't be coming back, but maybe it's for a larger purpose, like to save a life. For Satoru Fujinuma, that moment ...
review

Horimiya GN 5

Horimiya continues to delight in its fifth volume of this angst-free look at a sweet romance. Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― Of all of the many wonderful things about Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara's romance manga Horimiya, one of the best is its lack of melodrama. There are no huge dramatic reveals, no histrionics, no panels oozing with overly tense anticipation. Instead there's just Hori and Miyamura...
review

Scum's Wish GN 1

Before its anime adaptation comes out this winter, Rebecca Silverman takes a look at the dark world of sex and self-hatred in this very unusual romance. ― Scum's Wish is a difficult story. A bit like a “lite” version of Inio Asano's The Girl on the Shore, the story takes on the idea of budding sexuality and the disconnect between a physical and emotional relationship between a pair of unhappy sevente...
review

The Violet Knight eBook 1

This new web-novel-turned-light-novel stumbles a bit in its first volume, but it has enough potential to merit giving a second look. ― The Violet Knight is Cross Infinite World's second English-language offering, and like its predecessor, My Favorite Song, it is an officially licensed web novel with no light novel edition in Japanese. Its chief appeal is in that it is targeted at a female readership ...
game review

Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky

Departed souls are forced to duke it out in the afterlife in this unusual JRPG adventure. Todd Ciolek explores Exist Archive. ― If nothing else, Exist Archive: the other Side of the Sky poses a creative vision of the afterlife. Never mind those angel-heaped clouds, surging hellfires, or even the Norse realms that developer tri-Ace adapted into their Valkyrie Profile series. According to Exist Archive...
review

Kizumonogatari Part 2: Nekketsu

In this middle entry of the Kizumonogatari trilogy, things take a hyperviolent and hypersexual turn that pushes Araragi to his limits. Nick Creamer explores this provocative film. ― The key moment of Kizumonogatari Nekketsu comes after its second battle, after Araragi has just faced the half-vampire, Episode. Episode is defeated and almost killed, but Araragi can't relish the victory. Instead, he's c...
review

Attack on Titan Anthology

Over 30 American comic book artists and writers come together for this compilation of Attack on Titan inspired stories! From its light-hearted parodies to its haunting horror tales, how does this anthology hold up? ― While the publisher Kodansha's claim on the introductory page that the Attack on Titan manga is “the biggest hit in a generation” may be debatable, there's no question that this franchis...
game review

Review: World of Final Fantasy (Playstation 4)

Just in time for the series' 30th anniversary, World of Final Fantasy brings together characters new and old for a lighthearted role-playing adventure that builds on three decades of legacy while crafting its own identity. ― It's been nearly 30 years since the four Warriors of Light crossed the bridge out of Cornelia and into our collective hearts, launching one of the biggest—if not the biggest—RPG ...
review

B-PROJECT Episodes 1-12 Streaming

B-Project is a bit like UtaPri's calmer little brother - it's fun, it's silly, and it's entertaining start to finish, even if it's nothing new in the boy idol reverse harem genre. ― A large group of uniquely beautiful and talented young men? A slightly eccentric producer? An innocuous and normal (yet secretly talented) young woman thrown into the mix? Bubbly J-pop numbers with slightly feminine chore...
review

A Town Where You Live Sub.Blu-Ray

What happens when you try to cram two dozen volumes of manga into twelve episodes of anime? Rebecca Silverman finds out in A Town Where You Live. ― What happens when you take twenty-seven volumes of manga and try to condense it down to twelve episodes of anime? It's an issue that we've seen many times before with mixed results, but in the case of A Town Where You Live, based on Koji Seo (of Suzuka fa...
review

Kitaro Meets Nurarihyon GN

Don't be scared off by the 1960s publication date - this GeGeGe no Kitaro compilation still holds up, as the yokai boy finds himself up against a variety of spooky villains! ― Drawn & Quarterly's second collection of the late, great Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitaro stories may be named after Nurarihyon, but he actually only features in one chapter. However, his essence definitely permeates the curat...
review

My Girlfriend is a T-Rex GN 1

"Dinosaurs evolve into hot humans to avoid extinction in this funny send-up of the increasingly crowded monster girl genre. Rebecca Silverman takes a look." ― If your first reaction upon looking at the title of Seven Seas' newest monster girl offering is to think, “Wow, the monster girl genre has definitely gone too far,” you could be forgiven. From the outside, My Girlfriend is a T-Rex just looks li...
review

Kuromukuro Episodes 14-26 Streaming

Kuromukuro does its best to resolve its many mysteries in its action-packed second half, but does it succeed? Theron Martin investigates. ― Despite Netflix breaking the series into two 13-episode blocks for its subtitled stream, there was no break in Kuromukuro's 26-episode airing in Japan. Hence it's only natural that its second half picks up exactly where last season left off with zero recap. Where...
review

High School DxD BorN BD+DVD

As High School DxD enters its third season, does it still have enough juice to satisfy thirsty fanservice fans? Theron Martin has the answers. ― Based on its first two anime installments, High School DxD is the standard-setter and reigning champ for raunchy harem franchises. Despite being plagued by some production and storytelling issues, its third season does little to dethrone it. The main problem...
review

Thunderbolt Fantasy Episodes 1-13 Streaming

Can a fantasy adventure starring a pack of puppets really capture the same thrills and chills as an anime series, even with Gen Urobuchi at the wheel? Nick Creamer aims to find out. ― When it was first announced that Gen Urobuchi would be directing a puppet drama, it was difficult to know what to expect. Having started his career in visual novels and then made his mark in anime through works like Mad...
review

Blood Blockade Battlefront BD+DVD

Now that a limited edition release has finally made its way stateside, how does Studio Bones' ambitiously bizarre action series hold up? Jacob Chapman takes a look. ― It seems like an impossible task to pick out the one strangest thing about Blood Blockade Battlefront, even if you limited yourself to the very first episode. The show kicks off by ripping open its universe and ushering every supernatur...
review

Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water [Limited Edition] Blu-Ray 1

The Asterisk War anime was the first version of this story to reach the west, but is it the best one? Rebecca Silverman weighs in. ― The first version of The Asterisk War to make it to the west is also the last one to see a physical release – the 2015 anime series. Aniplex of America's release of the first six episodes on Blu-Ray, which also includes a music CD of various BGM pieces remixed into a si...
review

Review: Miss Hokusai

Hokusai painted some of the most famous works in Japanese art history - but he had a little help from his daughter. Mike Toole explores the rich slice of history offered up by Miss Hokusai, in theaters this weekend. ― If you've ever just happened across a Japanese painting, a piece of fine art on canvas, you probably didn't see Tomioka Tessai's “Two Divinities Dancing” or Hasegawa Tohaku's “Irises.” ...
review

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie

Nate Adams wakes up without his Yo-Kai Watch or his memories - which means someone's been tampering with the past! James Beckett takes on this theatrical installment of the popular show, in theaters this weekend. ― Yo-kai Watch has absolutely exploded in Japan over the past few years; the most recent film managed to outdo The Force Awakens in its opening-weekend box-office, and when you can knock Sta...
review

your name.

Makoto Shinkai's newest movie is blowing up the Japanese box office, but what is it about this film that touches so many hearts? Anne Lauenroth reviews this unexpected blockbuster. ― Why do we wake up crying from a dream we've already begun to forget? Why does the feeling of loss linger after the memory of that dream has faded to a vague feeling of something that should be there but isn't? How can we...
review

Plastic Memories Sub.Blu-Ray 2

Plastic Memories may have stumbled with tone problems in its first half, but this second half delivers on the drama where it matters most in the end. Theron Martin breaks it down. ― Spoiler Alert: This review will discuss the end of the series in detail. Though it started strong, Plastic Memories was prone to bouts of frustratingly uneven content even from the beginning. These tone problems have not ...
review

Persona 4 GN 1

This manga may not be equivalent to actually playing Persona 4, but it's also hardly a shadow of its former self. Gabriella Ekens dives into this adaptation of the hit JRPG. ― The original Persona 4 manga – published the year of the game's 2008 release – finally made it stateside early this year. As an abbreviated version of the game's storyline, this adaptation tries to condense the enormous JRPG in...
review

Assassination Classroom GN 13

The truth about Nagisa's family life is revealed, leading us to question whether or not he'll really be able to kill Koro-sensei when the time comes in this unusually dark volume of the series. ― How people think of themselves doesn't always reflect what we see on the outside. That's been shown over and over again in Yusei Matsui's Assassination Classroom, as the rest of the school consistently under...
review

Sweetness & Lightning Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Sweetness & Lightning offers a light but consistently rewarding getaway to a land of good food and great company. Nick Creamer gets into what makes this show special. ― Early on in Sweetness & Lightning, the young Tsumugi is just about to sample another of her father's cooking adventures. Staring up at her dad, she shouts “watch me eat!” before happily digging in, munching through a heaping plate of ...
review

I've Always Liked You

The first of a series of movies based on a vocaloid project, this fresh fall season addition to Crunchyroll may be a typical teen romance by anime standards but solid execution is everything. Theron Martin takes a look. ― This 63 minute movie, which debuted in Japanese theaters in April and is now streaming on Crunchyroll, has a somewhat unusual pedigree. It's based on a song and light novel project ...
review

Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 5

The Queen's protection has come in handy for Naofumi, but a trip to the Cal Mira Islands introduces a new threat for his group to worry about along with the Waves. Rebecca Silverman explores this new development. ― After volume four's triumphant ending, wherein Naofumi the Shield Hero not only got his good name back but the scheming king and princess of Melromarc who had conspired to smear it in the ...
review

Overlord Novel 2

Lord Momonga ventures out into the world beyond his stronghold in the glossy hardcover second volume of this hit light novel series. Theron Martin takes a look. ― This second entry in Overlord's light novel series was directly adapted into episodes 5-9 of last year's anime version. If the first arc described Ainz and the Lost Tomb of Nazarick's transition to the new world, this arc represents their f...
review

Den-noh Coil Blu-Ray 2

Den-noh Coil's plot ramps up in its second half as mysteries are solved and new ideas come to light. Theron Martin explores the story's conclusion. ― The first half of Den-noh Coil thoroughly established a broad cast of characters, the setting and almost magical technology, and numerous potential story threads while the children goofed around and got into the kind of mischief expected of tech-savvy k...
review

A Bride's Story GN 7

A Bride’s Story slows down in a volume that doesn’t quite match the manga’s usual heights. Nick Creamer investigates. ― In the afterword to this volume of A Bride's Story, Kaoru Mori mentions how she decided to change her drawing style for these chapters, and adopt “a bit of a lighter touch than I usually do.” This shift is clear in the artwork; in contrast to the manga's usual robust blacks and dive...
review

Corpse Party: Blood Covered GN 2

This horror manga begins to find its feet in this second omnibus, although it's still lacking in some important aspects. ― This is the volume where Corpse Party: Blood Covered comes into its own. In what would have been volume three of the original Japanese release, the story stops playing with unsavory romance tropes and trying to reinvent itself as Higurashi: When They Cry Lite and gets down to the...
review

Haikyu!! GN 4

Training camp begins for Karasuno's volleyball team, as Hinata still struggles to find his place within the team. Can they get their act together before the big practice match against Nekoma High? ― The previous two volumes in Haruichi Furudate's volleyball series were mostly concerned with assembling a full team for Karasuno High School, which was really a stand-in for how shattered the team had bec...
review

My Pathetic Vampire Life GN 1

Is it worth it to be an all-powerful vampire with eternal life if you have to spend that life repeating the 10th grade forever? Koide's beginning to have his doubts in this slightly absurd new comedy series. ― Can you think of anything more horrible than repeating your first year of high school for 150 years? That's the fate of poor Koide, a vampire who was turned at age sixteen back in the Meiji era...
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 ...

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