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review

Love Live! School Idol Project Sub.Blu-Ray

They're too kawaii to live but too sugoi to die: Japan's most popular animated idols get the bluray treatment in the US, but did they manage to cast their spell on staff critic Nick Creamer? ― Idols are unstoppable these days. Their economic might is legend, a heavy fist of show sales that crushes all else underfoot. Their shows prompt sequels and then movies, their songs filling theaters and echoing...
review

Nisekoi: False Love GN 7

Had this book not come directly after the Romeo and Juliet storyline, it may have made a bigger impact. ― There are many things about Naoshi Komi's Nisekoi: False Love that make it one of the most entertaining harem manga out there...and sadly, not a whole lot of them end up in this volume. That's not to say that it isn't still a good book; the final arc about Chitoge's mother is very strong in its c...
review

Sword Art Online: Progressive GN 1

Sword Art Online Progressive is an initiative to go back and fill in some details that were skipped over by the time jump in the franchise's founding novel. How's it stack up? ― Sword Art Online Progressive is an initiative by original SAO author Reki Kawahara to go back and fill in and expand on some details/stories that were skipped over by the big time jump in the franchise's founding novel. This ...
review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 GN 1

The first part of Hirohiko Araki's beloved, long-running insane shonen action-adventure series is out now in a super-fancy hardcover edition. Rebecca's here with the verdict. ― Take a Victorian melodrama, combine it with a Gothic novel, and inject it with a large amount of testosterone, and what do you get? The first arc of Hirohiko Araki's long-running manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Phantom Blood. ...
review

Onimonogatari Sub.Blu-Ray 4

Shinobu Time brings Monogatari’s focus to Araragi, Mayoi, and Shinobu in a story marked by ominous beginnings and tragic endings. ― Monogatari isn't just one stable show, with a central narrative and single genre you can use to describe it. It is many shows at once, meaning any given “Monogatari fan” can absolutely love one arc and have no interest in the next. One arc will be a slow-burning exorcism...
review

Citrus GN 1

Seven Seas' latest yuri title might be one of those rare manga that's better the second time you read it. ― Seven Seas continues to be the leading purveyor of yuri manga in English with this latest offering. Where their previous releases by Milk Morinaga or currently out of print titles (such as The Last Uniform) were all more sweet than sexy, Citrus treads some different ground. The story follows Yu...
review

A Certain Magical Index II BD+DVD

Although this is the end of A Certain Magical Index II, it does not feel particularly conclusive. Granted, this could be because so many more novels exist after this point, but it does take away from the experience of watching it. ― There has been a trend recently of anime being self-aware. While generally not fully metafictional, the wink and nudge to the audience can waver between being clever and ...
review

Silver Spoon Season 2 Sub.DVD

Silver Spoon's second season is as good as the first, delivering a well-told story that gently takes hold of you and doesn't let go. ― Silver Spoon, based on the manga of the same name by Fullmetal Alchemist's Hiromu Arakawa, is definitely one of the best depictions of farm life in the entertainment world...which means that if you're squeamish, you want to be prepared. Arakawa's story never flinches ...
game review

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-

Xrd is not just a next-generation fighting game, it's also a complete package in every department. Could it be the pinnacle of modern fighting games? ― The last fighting game release in the Guilty Gear series was (putting aside several patches) GGXX Accent Core in 2006: rights issues put another GG fighting game out of the question. After the strange, brilliant, and largely ignored Guilty Gear 2-- a ...
game review

Resident Evil HD Remaster

The remake of the survival horror classic an entire generation grew up with arrives once again, this time remastered for modern consoles and PC. ― The 2002 Resident Evil's strict adherence to its Playstation source material immediately drew you in. Walking into that two story entrance hall, players saw the same staircase, pillars, marble floor, and ornate rugs that defined many people's first 32-bit ...
review

Log Horizon Blu-Ray

If you thought Sword Art Online was the undisputed king of the 'trapped in an MMO' anime subgenre, Log Horizon's rising popularity certainly challenges the crown. ― Following on the heels of mega-hit Sword Art Online, Log Horizon takes the concept of being trapped in an MMO world in a very different direction. Its emphasis is much less on the “trapped” and much more on the “world” - instead of focusi...
review

Gou-dere Sora Nagihara GN 1

Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara is absolutely not for everyone. It's gross in a couple of ways, but it also never takes itself seriously. ― If you know what a “gou-dere” is, as opposed to a “tsundere” or a “yandere,” you're already halfway to knowing what's so funny about this manga. If you are unfamiliar with that particular character type, however, she is basically someone who will stop at nothing to procur...
review

Master Keaton GN 1

Once it gets off the ground, there is much more to be found within its pages than the simple story of a guy who kicks ass and takes names. ― Master mangaka Naoki Urasawa said in a 2012 interview that he had always liked Master Keaton as a character but that contractual obligations kept him from telling the story as he would have liked. Now with the first-ever English language release of the 1989-1994...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (Novel 1)

The upcoming Spring 2015 fantasy anime series based on this novel isn't even out yet, but Theron read Yen Press' English release of the novel ahead of time. Any good? ― When Japanese light novel series get American releases, they almost invariably start because an anime adaptation has proven successful with American audiences. Sure, the novels released in the States may eventually surpass the animate...
review

Meganebu! Sub.Blu-Ray

Whether or not you enjoy the show will likely be based on how much you enjoy the visuals of hot guys on a bright background, because if you watch for the plot, you may find yourself disappointed. ― When it comes to premises that you wouldn't expect to see animated, “five hot guys who are mad about glasses” would certainly be on the list. Based on a series of drama CDs (although it has the feel of a f...
review

Ani-Imo GN 1

If you can suspend your sensibilities, there's a good story in Ani-Imo, albeit one that can at times feel a little mean. ― We've all had moments of total cluelessness, missing something that was right under out own noses out of sheer obliviousness, much to the amazement of those around us. For Youta Koizumi, what he's been missing is that his twin sister Hikaru is in love with him. He knows that he s...
review

Love at Fourteen GN 1

Love at Fourteen's first volume is quiet and somewhere between difficult and sweet, depending on how much you find yourself relating to the characters. ― At what point do we stop just being ourselves and start to worry about how others see us? For many people, adolescence and middle school mark the time when we start to wonder how other people will see our taste in clothing, choice of hobbies, or con...
game review

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

These three Ace Attorney games show little wear, proving just as witty and endearing as they were many years ago. Hiccups and silliness aside, Phoenix Wright’s cases are hard to set down once you’re in deep. ― The game-playing multitudes often worry over writing quality. Many of us want game stories to be the serious, respected stuff of collegiate literary analysis, and we get downright bitter when t...
review

High School DxD New (Season 2) [Limited Edition] Blu-Ray

The highly praised fanservice-heavy fantasy franchise is back for another salacious season - does it live up to the standard set by the first? ― If there is a current gold standard for fan service-focused anime, it's the High School DxD franchise. Yes, other series which have debuted in the 2010s have had copious amounts of nudity and sexy behavior, but no franchise exceeds it for quality, variety, o...
review

Kill la Kill [Limited Edition] BD+DVD 3

Kill la Kill reaches the halfway point and just keeps assaulting your eyeballs with massive fight after massive fight, but as it delves deeper into Big Drama, something goes missing... ― Fresh off of Gamagoori's defeat in episode 9, this passel of Kill La Kill episodes is manically paced and insanely hot-blooded, somehow topping the intensity of all prior events in an explosion of peak emotion, peak ...
review

Assassination Classroom GN 1

Assassination Classroom is not what I was expecting; there's more to the story than it appears. ― If you know nothing about this series beyond the title, the first thing you need to know is this: it is not, at its heart, about classroom violence. While Assassination Classroom does pit armed students against their inhuman teacher, they are armed with rubber weapons that cannot harm people and the teac...
review

Sword Art Online - Extra Edition Blu-Ray

It's a recap of the unbelievably popular first season of Sword Art Online featuring the show's female cast in bikinis. What more could you want? ― The cover of Sword Art Online Extra Edition features all the girls of Sword Art Online mugging for the camera in their swimwear. Both Asuna and Suguha are posed awkwardly to maximize both boobs and butt, and Suguha actually has her hand yanking the back of...
review

Prophecy GN 1

Prophecy sets the story up to cause its readers a conflicting sense of loyalty, making criminals, victims, and police all look equally culpable as it goes on in this timely tale of Internet crime and commentary. ― Have you ever dreamed of vengeance? Not just silly little things, but honest-to-goodness revenge against someone who did the unspeakable to you or someone you care about? Even if you have, ...
review

He's My Only Vampire GN 1

If you aren't already a fan of Aya Shouoto and enjoy fast-paced paranormal romance, this book might make you one. ― Aya Shouto fans, rejoice! Less than a month after Viz's release of her first series in English, Kiss of the Rose Princess, Yen Press brings us another, He's My Only Vampire. Less humorous than its predecessor, this second English-language offering is much more in the paranormal romance ...
review

Chaika - The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle Episodes 1-10 Streaming

The funny, endearing and compelling first season of Chaika was well-received by fans everywhere. Does the second season continue the tradition? ― Chaika's first season was a fun, unassuming adventure with a set of simple but endearing characters, and Avenging Battle does very little to mess with that formula. The system is well established at this point - Chaika and her companions roam around gatheri...
review

Nisekoi: False Love Sub.Blu-Ray 1

Very little about the content may be fresh, but the staff is doing everything in its power to spruce it up and make it entertaining, and so far, it's working. ― Nisekoi translates rather literally as “Fake Love,” and it is a fitting title for the series – at least for now, anyway. After all, the “couple who starts combative but eventually falls in love” and the “must fake being in love for some contr...
review

Sword Art Online Novel 3

The greatest strength and weakness of this book is that it takes us out of Kirito's head, with most of the chapters narrated by his sister Suguha. ― There is a small piece of me that wishes that Reki Kawahara had simply stopped writing after the first book and left Sword Art Online a stand-alone novel. While this first novel in the Fairy Dance arc is a good read and makes good use of the duality of p...
review

Sunday Without God Blu-Ray

Sunday Without God is not an easy show to watch, but it has its beauty. ― Based on a series of light novels by the same name, Sunday Without God is a deeply emotional show that will leave you exhausted...but not in a bad way. The story takes place in what appears to be an alternate France (all writing we see is in grammatically correct French), where fifteen years ago, people stopped dying. Their hea...
review

Milkyway Hitchhiking GN 1

Milkyway Hitchhiking's first English volume, an omnibus of Korean volumes one and two, is a beautiful book. Each story is varied and there are very few repeated concepts, making it an interesting read even if you are not a cat person. ― Even though this is pretty much a “cat book,” those who aren't crazy cat ladies or gentlemen should not shy away from picking it up. Sirial's second English-language ...
review

A Certain Magical Index Novel 1

One of the most popular light novel series ever makes its debut in English thanks to Yen Press. Theron's got the breakdown. ― With all of the anime-associated light novels which have been filtering into the U.S. over the past few years, a series which founds a franchise consisting of close to 100 full-length episodes, five short episodes, and a movie seems like a natural choice. Hence Kazuma Kamachi'...
review

LBX GN 1 & 2

It may be aimed at little kids, but LBX's first two volumes are still good reads if you want something fast and action-packed. ― Someone once said that when you start putting Barbie and Ken in bed together, you have officially gotten too old to play with them. That same sentiment can be extended to the world of Hideaki Fujii's Little Battlers Experience manga: when you start to use toys to try and ta...
review

Kite (live action) Blu-Ray/DVD

They made a live-action version of Kite, and Samuel L. Jackson's in it! The odds that it's any good must be pretty low, though, right? ― The live-action version of Kite is a 2014 South African production which is directly based on Yasuomi Umetsu's original 1998 OVA. It has a bit of a storied history, as its original director, David R. Ellis (Snakes on a Plane, Cellular, two Final Destination sequels)...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 1

Genshiken is back for another semester, with the original cast having grown up and a new crop of otaku joining the club, but does it retain the series' magic? ― Genshiken has returned, bringing with it all the rapid-fire humor and distinctive sensitivity that made the first series so rewarding. A slice of life/light drama concerning an otaku club might not seem like the most fertile ground for compel...
review

Review: Expelled from Paradise

Superstar screenwriter Gen Urobuchi and Fullmetal Alchemist director Seiji Mizushima team up to bring us a CG-animated sci-fi action spectacle. Is it any good? ― It's rare to see an anime movie released with such a strong, yet entirely mysterious pedigree behind it. Seiji Mizushima and Gen Urobuchi are both well-established voices in their industry, but they've never worked on a project together befo...
review

Yukarism GN 1

Yukarism's first volume isn't groundbreaking or fabulous, but it is an interesting story about how the past can bleed into the present. ― When Yukari Kobayakawa was born, his parents were told that he still had memories of his past life. This, the attending priest told them, was indicated by the huge scar that crossed his torso, like a cut from a sword. The scar eventually faded, but the priest's wor...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 4: Alliance of the Golden Witch Volume 2 GN 8

Umineko: When They Cry's eighth series volume (and second in the arc) whips things back up to fever pitch by the end of the book, but it takes some time for it to get there. ― Warning: This review contains spoilers for previous volumes. The fourth arc of Ryukishi07's Umineko: When They Cry, Alliance of the Golden Witch distinguished itself from its brethren by reminding us of the existence of Battle...
review

Kiss of the Rose Princess GN 1

Kiss of the Rose Princess' first volume is a lot of fun. It may lack plot direction, but the jokes are spot-on. ― There is something about a reverse harem that invariably leads one to wonder whether or not it was based on an otome game. In the case of Kiss of the Rose Princess' first volume, those fleeting thoughts vanish fairly quickly as it becomes obvious that Aya Shouoto's shoujo series is less a...
review

Toriko Part I DVD

Toriko is about manly men doing manly things in the most masculine way possible, and that's part of its particular charm. ― Garfield – the cat, not the president – once said, “If I couldn't eat, I'd just die.” While that was the punchline of a strip, it is essentially the basis of the anime series Toriko, based on the manga of the same name by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro. This collection of the first two ...
review

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story GN 3

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story ends on as high a note as it can while still being pretty depressing. ― Warning: contains some spoilers for the original Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Hanokage, the artist and apparent originator of this spin-off of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, says at the end of the volume that her idea was to see what would have happened had Mami not died so early on in the...
review

REVIEW: Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series Blu-ray

One of the most beloved anime series of all time arrives in high definition from Funimation, but is it the definitive release that we're all hoping for, and after all this time, what does the show mean? ― There are 26 "sessions" in Cowboy Bebop's vaunted run, now rendered gorgeously in high definition on this long-awaited blu-ray release, but they can all be summed up pretty well by a fuzzy little st...
review

Ajin GN 1

Ajin is not an easy series or one that you would call “fun,” but it is a very good one. ― Who is the monster and who is the man? This is a question that has been in the literary spotlight since Mary Shelley's Frankenstein raised the issue of who had more humanity, Dr. Frankenstein or his Monster. Tsuina Miura takes a different look at the same issue in Ajin, which examines questions of fear and man's...
review

Higurashi: When They Cry GN 26

The Dice Killing Arc is not the strongest ending to Higurashi: When They Cry, but it is still an interesting read, particularly if you're now reading Umineko. ― My perfect is not your perfect, and there will always be someone who has it all looking for a more perfect happiness. So at what point does someone stop and say, “Yes, this is as much as it needs to be and I will be content?” That is the over...
review

A Letter to Momo BD+DVD

Hiroyuki Okiura's seven-years-in-the-making film about a girl coping with loss with the help of three supernatural creatures arrives on bluray. ― Essentially, a description of this 2011 production could be boiled down to one sentence: three mostly-incompetent supernatural visitors (partly by accident) help a preteen girl reach resolution over the loss of her father. Supernatural entities helping to e...
game review

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Fresh from the bonus stages of Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad's treasure tracking adventures are fun, whimsical, and easy on the senses. ― Treasure Tracker is a simple game, built on the ultra-fun playhouses that Super Mario 3D World used for variety between its standard platforming levels. Captain Toad and Toadette trundle through bite-sized dioramas floating in space, grabbing up 1-ups and fist...
review

Witchcraft Works GN 1

The tale of an average boy (who isn't average) and the Amazonian witch lady who protects him. There's witchcraft in there somewhere, too! ― It's easy not to believe series protagonist Honoka Takamiya when he tells us that he's just an average high school student. Admittedly this is mostly because he's the hero of a manga series, thus dramatically reducing his chances of being as normal as he thinks h...
review

Aldnoah.Zero Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Featuring giant robots in service of ruminating about war, Aldnoah.Zero gets off to a promising start, but it's a bumpy ride to the end of the season. ― At first glance, Aldnoah.Zero looks like a show brimming with potential. Its first few episodes barrel out the gate, establishing a complex world and a broad cast of characters. Its drama has scale, its cast has a wide variety of motives, and its fir...
review

Flowers of Evil Blu-Ray

The Flowers of Evil is not an easy show to watch. It's slow, heavy, and oppressive, at times almost physically uncomfortable. ― The Flowers of Evil is not an easy show to watch. It's slow, heavy, and oppressive, at times almost physically uncomfortable. It unwinds stressfully, building a tension you can feel in your bones, like the memory of an unkind comment you wish could take back. It's not “fun” ...
review

False Memories GN 1 & 2

False Memories is a short, sweet story about a second chance at first love, a nice introduction to BL for the curious. ― There's something really rewarding about a well-told love story, no matter what the gender of the protagonists. Isaku Natsume's first English print release (another of her titles is, as of this review, digital-only but legally available) is one such tale. Complete in two volumes, F...
review

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods [Extended Edition] Blu-Ray

Akira Toriyama's return to the Dragonball franchise is marked by a boatload of gags, a kittycat nemesis and a whole lot of theatrical-quality fighting. ― Dragonball Z: Battle of the Gods is a work that turns back the clock in a couple of ways. The first, most obvious one is that it leaps back in the timeline - the film takes place right at the end of Dragonball Z, in a happy post-Buu neutral. The mov...
review

Review: Parasyte (Live-Action Film)

With the animated version of the classic manga taking off, does the first half of its live-action counterpart, directed by Takashi Yamazaki, do the story justice? ― A couple of decades since the conclusion of the original manga and after years in development hell, Parasyte finally hits the silver screen as a live-action feature. In charge of transitioning the story from its initial paper-2D incarnati...
game review

Game Review: Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax

Your favorite (and not-so-favorite) light novel anime characters come together to pound the tar out of one another in this import-only fighting game. ― This is a funny situation for French Bread. As one of the stars of the late 90s-early 00's doujinshi game era, they used to make games like this all the time. The formula is pretty simple: you slap whatever character's popular right now into a fightin...
review

A Certain Magical Index II BD+DVD

The first 12 episodes of A Certain Magical Index II arrive on bluray after some delay, but was this shonen rom-com worth the wait? ― You might be a shounen hero if you're too nice to stray girls, making it so that you just can't catch a break. That's Toma Kamijo's life in a nutshell – ever since he took in fugitive nun Index, his life has been a seemingly unending series of strange events requiring h...
review

Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash! BD+DVD

Ninja fights and giant boobs dominate Senran Kagura, not necessarily in that order, but there's a story in here too if you're interested in that kind of thing. ― If the idea of goofy ninja action featuring lots of busty babes and panty shots appeals to you then it's hard to beat Senran Kagura, whose entire raison d'etre is to showcase exactly that. If you seek anything more than that then you are pro...
review

Bayonetta: Bloody Fate BD+DVD

Bayonetta makes the leap from videogame to anime, and while the visual trappings make the transition intact, the story might've left something behind. ― Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is based on the Bayonetta videogame, which is apparent in the production from frame one. Its characters strike poses that would put a crick in a Joestar's neck, its narrative proceeds like an unabashed series of escalating boss...
review

Ubel Blatt GN 1

Übel Blatt is not a fantasy for the kiddies; it's a dark fantasy tale of murder and revenge, but is it off to a promising start or a worrying one? ― Sometimes when a company rates a series “M” they're just employing precautionary tactics, because you never can tell what people will get upset about. Other times they really mean it. Übel Blatt is one of those latter cases. This first omnibus volume is ...
review

Hal BD+DVD

Attack on Titan's Wit Studio presents a film about a girl coping with the loss of her boyfriend by living with a robot version of him, which sounds like a great idea. ― A few elements in Hal – the robot Kyouichi, a few other references to robots in flashbacks, one or two other high-tech items, and a suggestion of some past calamity that created sunken city ruins – earn it a “science fiction” classifi...
review

Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon FINAL: My Neighbor Totoro

The Ghiblithon concludes with Miyazaki's most universally beloved film, the heartwarming (and extremely profitable) My Neighbor Totoro. ― In many ways, My Neighbor Totoro is the quintessential representation of Studio Ghibli. Aside from its infinitely marketable critters, and the fact that Totoro graces the logo of the production house, the film embodies many of the qualities that Ghibli films have c...
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Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 10: Howl's Moving Castle

It's the second-to-last day of the Ghiblithon and that means it's time to explore the weird, wild, occasionally nonsensical world of Howl and Sadie. ― As Hayao Miyazaki films by Studio Ghibli go, this 2004 adaptation of the novel by acclaimed British author Diana Wynne Jones stands somewhere in the middle of the pack. Though it earned the second Academy Award nomination for a Miyazaki work, it is nei...
review

Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 9: Kiki's Delivery Service

The Ghiblithon starts winding down with the last of three new bluray releases, the tale of a little witch, her talking cat, and a whole lot of coming of age. ― Kiki's Delivery Service was not Hayao Miyazaki's movie at first. Based on the book by Eiko Kadono, the film initially rested with a team of younger animators at Studio Ghibli. Yet the project hit snags, and Miyazaki, as he often does at his st...
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Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 8: Princess Mononoke

Day 8 of the Ghiblithon is all about one of Miyazaki's most celebrated films, arriving on bluray this month in a somewhat compromised, but still gorgeous, state. ― There was a brief moment where Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke was the top-grossing film in Japan. It came out in the summer of 1997 there, and it was an instant phenomenon, its box office glory stolen mere months later when James Camer...
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Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 7: From Up On Poppy Hill

It's Day 7 of our Ghiblithon and that means a nostalgia-tinged trip down to old Yokohama with Miyazakis both elder and junior, accompanied by Mike Toole. ― There was an undeniable air of suspicion that arose when Goro Miyazaki was named as director of Tales from Earthsea. After all, the son of Hayao Miyazaki had spent a lengthy career as a landscape architect, before eventually coming to work for the...
game review

Game Review: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

A fanservice-heavy, dungeon-crawling, number-crunching marriage between Etrian Odyssey and Personas 3 and 4. What could possibly go wrong? ― Thrown together across time, the casts of Persona 3 and 4 navigate a very Etrian Odyssey labyrinth with a very Persona set of abilities. Though the series seem at odds with each other--Etrian Odyssey's barely-there story clashes with Persona's sappy melodrama an...
review

Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 6: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Day 6 of the Ghiblithon arrives with Miyazaki's first iconic work, starring a savior princess in a toxic forest, based on the manga of his creation. ― Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was Hayao Miyazaki's first movie in a sense. He had plenty of experience before it, of course. He'd directed the best Lupin III flick with The Castle of Cagliostro and helmed the Future Boy Conan TV series (which was ...
review

Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 5: Ponyo

Brace yourself, there are 6 days of the Ghiblithon left! Today, Gabriella Ekens does a cannonball into the ocean of childlike wonder (and questionable storytelling) that is Ponyo. ― Hayao Miyazaki has gained a reputation as a director whose films sophisticated parents buy in order to give their kids a dose of culture alongside their entertainment. At first glance, Ponyo seems like it's tailor-made fo...
review

Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 4: Castle in the Sky

The Ghibliton rolls along with day 4, wherein Hope Chapman visits a familiar floating palace that doubles as a superweapon and a retirement home for mute robots. ― Released in 1986, Castle in the Sky is Studio Ghibli's first feature film in title only. Miyazaki already had two films under his belt showcasing his animation style and passionate, personal beliefs. (Nausicaa's ideas are plain on its face...
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Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 3: The Secret World of Arrietty

Day three of our Ghiblithon arrives in miniature as Rebecca Silverman enters the world of Arrietty and her sugar cube-stealing ilk. ― Anime at times has a uniquely sad way of looking at Western literature, as anyone who has seen Gankutsuo: The Count of Monte Cristo, a retelling of Alexandre Dumas' novel can attest. While we didn't see that in Studio Ghibli's adaptation of Dianna Wynne Jones' YA fanta...
review

Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 2: Whisper of the Heart

Eleven days of Ghibli bluray reviews continues with a boy, a girl, a John Denver song, a talking cat in aristocratic clothing and, naturally, Mike Toole. ― “Country Roads” by John Denver is a song that has traveled like few others, echoing across the planet for decades. It's a peculiar kind of universal language; at the World Cup in 2006, my friends and I sang it incessantly with Germans and Italians...
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The Studio Ghibli Bluray Review-a-thon Day 1: The Wind Rises

You may have noticed our reviews database is missing a whole bunch of Ghibli blurays; we're fixing that over the next eleven days starting here, with a look at Miyazaki's final film, out on bluray today. ― The Wind Rises is likely the most complicated film in the Studio Ghibli oeuvre, largely because it operates with varying success on a number of levels: at its most basic, it's a fictionalized versi...
review

Vampire Knight GN 19

It's the end of the road for Vampire Knight, a road paved with sexy vampires. ― Self-sacrifice: the act of giving up your very being for someone or something else. But if everyone is busy sacrificing that which is most important for those whom they love most, does the act have any meaning anymore? That is the major conundrum of Vampire Knight's final volume. We already know that Yuki has given up Zer...
review

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet BD+DVD

The smash hit sci-fi series supervised by Gen Urobuchi releases on bluray and hits all the right story notes, but the discs themselves leave something to be desired. ― What makes us human? Can humanity be bestowed upon someone, or learned? These are themes that we have seen in most of writer Gen Urobuchi's works (Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Psycho-Pass, among others) but Gargantia on the Verdurous ...
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Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer GN 1-2

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is an odd duck, melding basic shounen action with a much darker domestic story. ― Underneath the goofy start and typically comedic devices of absurdly powerful girls and talking animals, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is hiding a very dark story. It takes a while to really get there – and to get going, which makes Seven Seas' decision to release it in a two-book omnibus...
review

Voltron: From Days of Long Ago: A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration

A big glossy hardcover coffee table book all about the history, the legacy, and most importantly the merchandise of one of the few giant robots America seems to love. ― It was sleek, black, and two and a half pounds. I hefted it uneasily. “Voltron coffee table book,” I whispered, unsure if I was ready to exist in a world of Voltron coffee table books. I gazed at the cover, taking in the “Thirtieth An...
review

Otorimonogatari Sub.Blu-Ray 3

Three arcs in to its momentous second season, Monogatari reaches new heights in the paranoid mind of Sengoku Nadeko. ― The second season of Monogatari has prompted an overarching shift in the show's narrative priorities. Both Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari were largely focused on introducing various characters, using Araragi as the lens through which the viewer came to know Monogatari's strange fa...
review

Ghost in the Shell: Arise Blu-Ray 1-2

One of the world's most popular and recognizable anime franchises is back in OVA form, this time reaching into the past to explore the early days of Kusanagi and Section 9. ― Masamune Shirow, the creator of Ghost in the Shell, has no peer in anime and manga when it comes to imagining a future with cybertechnology and the extent and ramifications of what can be done with it. One of the few who comes c...
review

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire GN 1

This prequel to Resident Evil 6 is a surprisingly effective zombie story with some qualities you may not expect. ― Billed as a prequel manga to 2012's Resident Evil 6 third person shooter for the PS3 and Xbox 360, Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire's first volume actually stands alone quite well. Written and illustrated by Naoki Serizawa, whose Billion Dogs is available on the MangaBox ap, the story i...
review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Episodes 1-24 Streaming

The wildly popular third arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has captured the hearts of countless fans, but does it live up to the hype? ― JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has always been a very silly show. Its first season featured vampires with laser eyes, cyborg nazis, and killer squirrels, among many, many other absurd things. It owned that silliness - in the world of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, all those absu...
review

Alice in the Country of Diamonds: Bet On My Heart Novel

Another Alice book, this time designed to promote an otome game, but there might just be some life in this franchise yet. ― Are you sick of the seemingly endless parade of Alice in the Country of ______ books yet? This may be the rejuvenation that your flagging interest in the franchise needs. The first English language translation of a novelization of QuinRose's otome game empire, Alice in the Count...
review

Appleseed Alpha Dub.Blu-Ray

Certainly worth watching for the visuals and as a decent post-apocalyptic action-adventure story, though it offers little to anyone seeking a richer and more involved viewing experience. ― Although previous entries in the Appleseed franchise have touched on what Briareos and Deunan were doing in the time before coming to Olympus, none of them made it a focal point. This 2014 movie changes that by ins...
review

Sherlock Bones GN 7

Sherlock Bones' seventh book still delivers engaging mysteries and an awfully cute puppy version of The Great Detective. ― This volume marks the end of Sherlock Bones, which is a shame for two reasons: one, it isn't terribly conclusive, and two, this has consistently been a fun, entertaining, and occasionally scary mystery series from one of the writers of The Kindaichi Case Files, and the ending of ...
review

Review: Hellsing Ultimate IX - X (Bluray)

Just in time for Halloween, the animated adaptation of Kouta Hirano's sanguine saga comes to a cacophonous conclusion. But is it an apocalypse worthy of the mayhem that's come before? ― After seven years and multiple staff changes, Hellsing Ultimate, the ambitious adaptation of Kouta Hirano's cult hit manga, has at long last reached its end. Episodes IX and X mark the last confrontations between the ...
review

Raqiya: The New Book of Revelation GN 1 & 2

In the end, Raqiya is an interesting title but not, perhaps, the most accessible. ― Raqiya: The New Book of Revelation, titled after the Hebrew word for “firmament,” is one of those series that simultaneously sounds semi-plausible while still causing you to emit short bursts of laughter at some of its plot points. Based on a somewhat bizarre understanding of Christianity and Gnosticism, it tells the ...
game review

Bayonetta 2

Not much here is completely new, but the first game was essentially the pinnacle of the genre so who could complain about ten more hours of new looks, new locations, and new armaments? ― More happens in the beginning of Bayonetta 2 than in most other game's whole run. It's almost a cliche, people have been saying that since the first one came around, but there's no more succinct way to put it when th...
review

Magical Girl Apocalypse GN 1

If you have the stomach for a lot of splatter and gross fanservice (or grossness and fanservice), Magical Girl Apocalypse's first volume is worth checking out. It revels in its horror. ― What if magical girls started the zombie apocalypse? That's probably not a question you've ever asked yourself, but it appears to have crossed the mind of Kentaro Sato, because essentially that's what Magical Girl Ap...
review

Kill la Kill [Limited Edition] BD+DVD 2

It's a darker shade of Kill la Kill than we've seen yet, and the action now stands shoulder to shoulder with the comedy as the stakes around Ryuko skyrocket. ― Episodes 5-9 of Kill La Kill remind us that for all its free-wheeling artistry and visual innovation, there's a very familiar story driving the action of this artsy combination of action and comedy. First, there's an introductory battle that a...
review

Sherlock Bones GN 1

Sherlock Bones isn't quite sure what age group it wants to appeal to, with its mix of “aww, puppy” and truly scary moments, but it is a very enjoyable read. ― Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle's supreme detective, has gone through many incarnations since his original appearance in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887. Within the last few years alone there have been blockbuster films and two television...
review

In Clothes Called Fat GN

A grim yet fascinating look into the life of someone suffering from a disorder and never really getting the help she needs. ― Most of us have had those days – when you get up, look in the mirror, and all you see is fat. Sometimes it's a passing thing, a moment of self-loathing that doesn't last. For others, it's a way of life. In the case of Noko Hanazawa, it is something that comes on gradually. Whe...
review

Hanasaku Iroha the Movie: Home Sweet Home [Premium Edition] Sub.Blu-Ray

Even at only 66 minutes, it's a fully-realized film designed to serve as a complement to the original work, and it does that job very well. ― The Hanasaku Iroha series was a personal favorite back in 2011, so any anime expansion of its franchise is a welcome one. This 86 minute movie, subtitled Home Sweet Home, is neither a summative movie nor a stand-alone production; while newcomers to the franchis...
review

Sengoku Collection Sub.DVD

Sengoku Collection is a series very easy to dismiss on first impression, but its stories have the capacity to pleasantly surprise even those who are not Japanese history buffs, however. ― Sengoku Collection was originally a mobile social networking game created by Konami in 2010 and operated through the Mobage portal. As a result, it should come as no surprise that the anime adaptation has only a thi...
game review

The Evil Within

It's hard to blame Shinji Mikami for going back to the well, especially when everything else, from Gears of War to The Last of Us, has spent the past ten years stripping Resident Evil 4 to its bones. ― The Evil Within introduces its first enemy in a perfect recreation of Resident Evil's iconic zombie reveal, as if it wants to be certain you know it is a Shinji Mikami game. This is a game with a lot o...
review

A Certain Scientific Railgun S DVD

A Certain Scientific Railgun S' first half is much more action-packed than its predecessor and focuses more on Misaka than on the girl group dynamic of the earlier season. ― How much you enjoy this second series (whose “S” subtitle is explained in episode three) may depend on whether you preferred the action-oriented moments of the first season or the humorous slice-of-life aspects. If you are a fan ...
review

Manga Dogs GN 1

Manga Dogs' first volume is, overall, a very funny look at those whose greatest desire/delusion is to be a mangaka. ― If Manga Dogs seems like a bit of a departure for Ema Toyama, that's because it is. Her fourth series to be published in English – TokyoPop published Pixie Pop and Del Rey/Kodansha brought us I am Here and Missions of Love – is a much funnier, more cynical story than her cute romances...
review

Attack on Titan Part II BD+DVD

From its understated politics and foreshadowing to its grandiose gore and hairpin twists, the second half of Attack on Titan is tough to process and tougher to discuss. ― The second half of Attack on Titan is a colossal step in a darker direction compared to the first. If there was any doubt in the viewer's mind about the depths of horror and cruelty this story is out to plunge, doubt no more as the ...
review

I Am Alice: Body Swap in Wonderland GN 1

If you haven't read other recent English language releases of Alice-based titles, you may find this book more enjoyable, but even if you aren't a collector of all things Alice, this volume is fairly mediocre. ― The arrival of this book on bookstore shelves (physical or virtual) might raise some reasonable questions: Is this part of the Alice in the Country of Hearts juggernaut? Is it related to, perh...
review

Battle Angel Alita: Last Order GN 19

A somewhat unsatisfying conclusion to the 14-year Last Order saga, but Alita's story isn't finished yet. ― When it comes to discussing the defining writers of cyborg-focused sci fi manga, two names invariably come up: Masamune Shirow and Yukito Kishiro. While Shirow took an “integrate them into the real world” approach with his Ghost in the Shell stories and emphasized the cybernetic aspects of what ...
review

Happy Marriage!? GN 1

It's funny, it's sexy, and it has potential. ― Chiwa Takanashi doesn't seem to have a lot in common with her office lady (OL) friends. Everyday at lunch they gab about this guy or that guy with a definite fixation on the highly attractive young president of their company, Hokuto Mamiya. Chiwa, however, couldn't care less. She not only has never seen him (she slept through his speech), but she's also ...
review

Helter Skelter GN

Helter Skelter is both the story of a descendant of Mary Shelley's monster and a biting commentary on the cult of beauty that pervades popular culture. It is not an easy read, but it is an important one. ― Helter Skelter, josei mangaka Kyoko Okazaki's English-language debut, is a hard book to read. It is the sort of book that you seriously consider putting down at least half a dozen times as the hero...

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