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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...
review

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...
review

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...
review

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...
review

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 ...
review

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...
game review

Planetarian

Key's heartstring-tugging postapocalyptic kinetic novel finally comes to the US thanks to Sekai Project, and it just might make you cry. ― Yumemi is possibly the best employee anyone could ask for. She's cute, polite, and cares deeply for each and every customer that sets foot in the planetarium at the top of the giant Flowercrest department store. She's also exceptionally knowledgeable about the dis...
review

Uzumaki [3-in-1 Deluxe Edition] GN

Junji Ito's tale of a town possessed by a simple shape may have been written in the 1990s, but it has lost none of its impact. ― In the town of Kurouzo-cho, strange things are happening. One day on her way home, teenager Kirie Goshima comes across her boyfriend Shuichi's father, crouched down in the road staring intently at a snail. When she asks him what he's doing, he responds with something about ...
review

The Man of Tango GN

If you are tired of impossibly pretty feminine men living in scenes of perfection and beauty, The Man of Tango might be what you're looking for. ― The Man of Tango is a bit of an oddity in the BL genre as most Western readers have experienced it. The men are distinctly masculine - “manly” may actually be the better term – and one of the main characters is a woman. Many of the more sensual scenes are ...
review

Blood Lad BD+DVD

For all of its fun factor and attempts to be stylish, that's all it is for now unless an additional season or two gets animated to round out the existing story threads. ― Vampires are not commonly cast as heroic protagonists in anime because they tend to quickly be overpowered. Strike the Blood solved that problem last year by making its protagonist a fledgling who was still growing into the mighty l...
review

Honey Blood GN 1

Honey Blood is a one of those series that makes you understand the continued popularity of urban fantasy. Despite some issues, it is a quick, almost compulsive read. ― At this point in the literary game, if you're going to write a young adult vampire novel, you'd better have some new and interesting twist on the genre, or at least do the basics really, really well. Miko Mitsuki squeaks in under the w...
review

Gatchaman Crowds Blu-Ray

There are too many mature ideas without enough mature execution here, leaving only those firmly aligned with its point-of-view with much reason to care as the narrative spins out of control. ― As the plot summary above may indicate, Gatchaman CROWDS is a hard anime to describe plainly and even harder to approach critically. It leaves a sort of impossible impression: bizarre and yet conventional all a...
review

World Trigger GN 1

Right now this is definitely a series to keep an eye on: unique enough to pull you in and well-written with attractive art that will keep you reading. ― There's a real skill to explaining everything about a story's world without just having long, explanatory speeches or panels. Daisuke Ashihara has that down to a science in World Trigger's first volume. While the story itself is fascinating and a jus...
game review

Hatoful Boyfriend

For something so pointedly aware of its camp, for something predicated on silliness, Hatoful Boyfriend is remarkable in its sincerity. ― Since this game's absurd premise has seemingly been spread around and bird-punned to death there's no sense belaboring the description: Hatoful Boyfriend is a dating sim where your potential suitors are pigeons. As the only homo sapiens in the game, Hiyoko, your mis...
review

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall Novel 1

For established fans this is a treat – well-written, engrossing, and with the feel of historical fiction rather than fantasy, showing how immersed in the world the author became. ― Hajime Isayama's Attack on Titan manga has spawned an impressive juggernaut – as of this writing, there are multiple manga spin-offs, a successful anime series, and a variety of goods both serious and non. Ryo Suzukaze, a ...
review

Noragami: Stray God GN 1

Noragami's first volume feels like set up, but it's good set up. ― Some first volumes have the definite air of a prologue to the story to come. This is one of them. Noragami: Stray God, the first solo effort by artist duo Adachitoka (one does backgrounds while the other does the action) is clearly gearing up to be a more complex story than we see here, but it is very enjoyable despite that. At only t...
review

Aquarion Evol BD+DVD

Aquarion Evol's conclusion is largely satisfying, especially if you're familiar with the first series. While it has many cheesy elements, it also successfully delivers a resolution to past mistakes. ― How high is your tolerance for cheese? Because Aquarion Evol's second half, while beautiful to behold, is rife with enough cheese to make an omelet. While it also has far less of the awkward moaning and...
review

Fairy Tail BD+DVD - Part 11

The Tenrou Island arc ends with a series-altering twist, the kind that can easily feel desperate, like Viagra for shows who've lost their mojo. ― The Tenrou Island arc ends with a series-altering twist, the kind that can easily feel desperate, like Viagra for shows who've lost their mojo. When Hiro Mashima tries it, however, it feels less like panicked casting about for mojo-rejuvenation and more lik...
review

Alice in the Country of Clover: Nightmare GN

Overall, Nightmare is one of, if not the, weakest entry into the Alice manga franchise to date. ― With a series as long as the Alice in the Country of ________, there were bound to be some stinkers. Alice in the Country of Clover: Nightmare is one of them. With a main story that feels barely developed, art that renders the characters barely recognizable, and a quarter of the book given to another fra...
game review

Dangan Ronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Goodbye Despair, the second Dangan Ronpa, is exactly what you'd expect from the sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc. ― Goodbye Despair, the second Dangan Ronpa, is exactly what you'd expect from the sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc, a madcap series of murder mysteries constructed with the same pastel-spattered palette of goofy anime caricatures that belie its dark tone. A fresh crop of super geniuses arrives ...
review

The Moe Manifesto

As a wide-ranging examination of moe in the anime and manga industry, The Moe Manifesto may even sway the minds of some moe naysayers, as it more fully fleshes out the moe impulse. ― Everyone in anime and manga fandom seems to have an opinion about moe, and most folks aren't terribly subtle about it. Mentioning moe can often be a great way of devolving a conversation and it can provide a reliable spr...
review

Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection GN 1

Whether you are looking to see where Blue Exorcist began, are interested in watching a mangaka's evolution across ten years, or just enjoy short stories, Time Killers is worth picking up. ― If you only know Kazue Kato from Blue Exorcist – and really, there's not much reason why that wouldn't be your one and only association – prepare to see the full breadth of her talent as a mangaka. Time Killers, a...
review

Oreimo 2 Sub.DVD

Entertaining, funny and often captivating until the final few episodes, where it trips up badly enough to stumble. ― Note: This review discusses one major late-series spoiler in detail, beginning with the fourth paragraph. Aniplex of America's release of Oreimo 2 includes all 13 broadcast episodes plus the set of three round-out OVAs originally released a bit more than five weeks after the broadcast ...
review

Ah My Buddha DVD

Ah My Buddha teases us with a decent premise, but ultimately does not deliver. ― If you like harem shows about a hapless guy who gets beaten up for little-to-no reason, lots of breasts and bottoms, and panty shots galore...you probably still won't like this show. Originally released by Media Blasters and now rescued and re-released by Right Stuf under their Lucky Penny label, Ah My Buddha is a slog t...
review

Millennium Snow Omnibus and GN 3

Even if Ouran High School Host Club was not your favorite, this is worth reading, because as it turns out, Bisco Hatori is anything but a one-note author. ― If you only know Bisco Hatori from her parody of the reverse harem genre Ouran High School Host Club, be prepared to be surprised. Millennium Snow, her first series, is a beautiful, melancholy romance about a vampire who will live for a thousand ...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 4: Alliance of the Golden Witch Volume 1 GN 7

Alliance of the Golden Witch, the fourth arc in Ryukishi07's Umineko: When They Cry mystery/horror series, is markedly different from its predecessors. ― Warning: If you haven't read the previous volume of Umineko, you will find a major spoiler in this review! Alliance of the Golden Witch, the fourth arc in Ryukishi07's Umineko: When They Cry mystery/horror series, is markedly different from its pred...
review

D-Frag! GN 1

Though reused, the jokes are funny, and the characters are all weird enough to make reading about them amusing. ― When we talk about “de-fragging” a computer, it is generally understood that we are clearing away the clutter of fragmented files in order to make the machine run more efficiently. That is not the case for this manga. D-Frag is the bizarre, tumultuous tale of Kenji Kazama, a spiky- haired...
review

Date A Live BD+DVD 1-4

A harem series that gets some credit for trying something at least a little different and has periods where it can be entertaining, but it is ultimately the victim of its own devices. ― In the mid-2000s the American TV series Heroes pitched its first season with the catchy tag line “Save The Cheerleader, Save The World,” which did, in fact, form an overly brief summary of the first season's main plot...
review

The Heroic Legend of Arslan GN 1

The storyline for this first volume is a strange combination of many things happening and very little happening at all. ― If you remember the six-part OAV adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka's original The Heroic Legend of Arslan novels, Hiromu Arakawa's manga version is likely to look a little strange to you. Her distinctive art style is a far cry from Sachiko Kamimura's early-90s designs (themselves adapt...
review

Kabukimonogatari Sub.Blu-Ray 2

This is Monogatari taking a little time off, setting aside the big changes and, really, consequences in general to just have a good old time. ― When Monogatari wants to play around a little, go on a lark and have some fun, you know it can't do it like a normal show. A normal show would pack everyone off to a hot spring or go to the beach for sun and bikinis. Monogatari plays around with time-travel a...
review

Fairy Tail BD+DVD Part 10

"Being the climactic half of the arc, this set is basically all action, but it's action with purpose." ― As seems to be the pattern with even-numbered Fairy Tail sets, set ten ends cleanly, bringing the Tenrou Island arc to a typically action clogged, satisfyingly villain-abusive conclusion. It even skips, or more accurately stops before, the arc's cliffhanger coda, leaving the series in a nice, happ...
review

The Devil Is A Part-Timer! BD+DVD

"The concept is nothing less than a brilliant reversal of the standard fantasy gimmick of transplanting ordinary individuals from a modern-day world into a fantasy realm, which results in a highly entertaining comedy/drama." ― The concept here is nothing less than a brilliant reversal of the standard gimmick of transplanting ordinary individuals from a modern-day world into a fantasy realm where they...
review

Cat's Eye Sub.DVD

The first season of Cat's Eye is so much a product of its time that the only way it could possibly be more 80s is if Cyndi Lauper had a guest appearance. ― Based on the manga by Tsukasa Hojo, the first season of Cat's Eye, which ran from 1983 – 1984, is so much a product of its time that the only way it could possibly be more 80s is if Cyndi Lauper had a guest appearance. Despite that (and that may n...
review

Ringing Bell DVD

A little lamb seeks vengeance for the death of his mother in this very atypical 1978 movie. Though technically meant to be family-friendly, it is a rare cautionary tale whose harsh lessons can leave an indelible impression. ― The 1978 movie version of Ringing Bell is based on the children's book Chirin no Suzu by Takashi Yanase, whose vastly more famous creation (at least in Japan) is Anpanman. It wa...
review

Devils and Realist GN 1

While this is certainly not a horrible book, it is a mediocre one, and sometimes that feels more like a crime than if it had been unabashedly awful. ― Despite appearances, Devils and Realist is not based on an otome game. It also is not BL, although you could be forgiven for thinking that it might be – not a single female character is included in the cast, and most of the men are awfully pretty. And ...
review

Red Data Girl DVD

Opens with a strong, short arc and then continues on as if surprised by its own longevity and uncertain what exactly to do about it. ― If all of Red Data Girl was as good as its opening three episodes it would be a serious contender. Those episodes form a mostly self-contained arc, a dreamlike supernatural mystery where magic and menace are insinuated rather than stated, where mood and atmosphere are...
review

Nekomonogatari White Sub.Blu-Ray

If you think of the Hanekawa stories as a Nekomonogatari trilogy, then this is the concluding installment. If you aren't a Hanekawa fan going in, you will be coming out. ― Nisioisin and Akiyuki Simbo dip once more into the life of unnaturally even-keeled Tsubasa Hanekawa, continuing the process of enriching and complicating her pointedly unnatural persona. Being the third time the series has put Hane...
game review

Muramasa: Rebirth / Genroku Legends

The main game doesn't have anything new to offer fans of the original, but veterans willing to double dip will get the best Muramasa's ever been. ― Muramasa always felt like a weekend sort of game: a 2D brawler with some light RPG bits, short and simple, and fun enough for a couple days. Compared to Vanillaware's previous game, Odin Sphere, everything in Muramasa is quick and fluid. Fighting is high ...
review

To Love Ru Darkness Sub.Blu-Ray

While partly offering more of the same, the third installment in this harem franchise also dramatically escalates its fan service content, shifts character focus, and takes on darker and more serious tones and character development. ― As the third TV series in the franchise, Darkness adapts the eponymous follow-up manga to the original saucy “alien girlfriend/harem” manga by manga-ka team Saki Hasemi...
review

Arpeggio of Blue Steel GN 1

Arpeggio of Blue Steel's first volume begins an interesting, exciting story of mysterious vessels and warfare on the high seas. ― Of all of the moe-fications of inanimate objects, Arpeggio of Blue Steel's use of female avatars, or “mental models,” for ships makes the most sense. The reason for this is that in several languages, boats are referred to by use of the feminine pronoun, so even if your boa...

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