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review

Sword of the Stranger BD+DVD

Sword of the Stranger offers a nearly perfect action package. ― Sword of the Stranger is something of a wonderful oddity. Bearing no source material or spinoff potential, it's one of those rare anime-original films that offer an unfiltered vision of a creator or even studio. Blessed with gorgeous art design and animation, it offers an incredibly pure distillation of precisely one thing: the classic s...
review

Seven Deadly Sins -Signs of Holy War-

This four-episode "second season" of Seven Deadly Sins popped up on Netflix - how does it move the story forward, and is it any good? Theron Martin investigates. ― Although this is (correctly) labeled as a TV series, that label can be misleading in this case, as it implies that it consists of more than just four episodes. That is clearly all that it was planned for, however, so what Netflix is listin...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt GN 1

With gorgeous art and bonus details left out of the anime version, the only thing missing from this Gundam Thunderbolt manga is the soundtrack. Lauren Orsini weighs its pros and cons. ― “To all you music lovers out there—no borders, no war. You're tuned to Thunderbolt Station, the pirate radio of freedom!” There's no shortage of work hazards out in the Thunderbolt Sector, where Federation and Zeon so...
review

God Eater Blu-Ray 2

God Eater's story starts slipping as it moves into its middle third. Rebecca Silverman explains what went wrong. ― Answers always come with a price. Sometimes it's simply learning something you really didn't want to know, other times, it's the destruction of humanity and the entire world. If that seems like an extreme comparison, it's deliberate – the second half of the God Eater anime takes its burn...
review

Faraway Paladin Novel 1 - The Boy in the City of the Dead

The Faraway Paladin eschews most of the usual light novel tropes to tell a story with plenty of appeal for fantasy fans. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Fantasy light novels have a deserved reputation for following the tropes of MMORPGs so closely as to feel like game novelizations rather than stand-alone fantasy fiction. With most of them falling under the heading of isekai, or “transportation to a pa...
review

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse Novel 1

The harem genre gets an entertaining parody in this novel about a boy who finds out that he's the last resort of heroines everywhere. ― How many harem titles you have consumed over the course of your anime hobby is likely to determine how funny you find this book. I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse is a straight send-up of the genre, and while it also adheres to a lot of the conventions...
review

Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas movie 2

The second leg of this movie trilogy picks up steam as our heroes prepare to go another round with the ultimate bad guy. Theron Martin investigates. ― The second Chain Chronicle movie is now available on Crunchyroll in the same format that the first movie was presented: broken into roughly 20-minute segments with an opener only on the first and a closer only on the last. As with the first movie, thes...
review

Mobile Suit V Gundam Blu-Ray 2

The second half of Gundam Victory seems to bring Tomino's warning to avoid this series to fruition, as things get crazier and darker than ever before. Lauren Orsini takes a closer look. ― Rumor has it that director Yoshiyuki Tomino was deeply depressed while working on Victory Gundam, and that's even more apparent in the second half of the Blu-ray collection, episodes 27 through 51. Nothing goes well...
review

Attack on Titan: End of the World Novel

Does this novelization of the live-action Attack on Titan movies offer anything new for prior fans? Theron Martin investigates. ― While the synopsis above will no doubt sound familiar to fans of the anime or manga version of Attack on Titan, this is actually a novelization of the two live-action Attack on Titan movies released in 2015. It's a crucial distinction, as the movies used the core character...
review

Secret of the Princess GN

This single-volume story is one of Milk Morinaga's best, offering up a great introduction to the world of yuri manga through a sweet romance. ― If someone tells you something long enough, it's hard not to believe it. Usually this line is brought out to explain low self-esteem or an inability to try something new, but in Secret of the Princess, yuri mangaka Milk Morinaga uses it to help her heroine qu...
review

Tiger Mask W Episodes 1-13 Streaming

This soft reboot of the '60s wrestling classic may seem like too deep a cut for most new viewers, but Daryl Surat is here to tell you why Tiger Mask W is worth checking out! ― I love it when anime gains traction among an audience who otherwise wouldn't typically think to watch it. Recent fan favorite Yuri!!! On Ice, for example, gained some noteworthy visibility among professional ice skaters which p...
review

Bungo Stray Dogs GN 1

While you don't necessarily need much knowledge of Japanese literature to enjoy Bungo Stray Dogs, this English translation may have some issues for new or returning fans. ― Some of you may already be familiar with this story, since Bungo Stray Dogs' anime adaptation beat its original manga to English translation by a fairly large margin. For those who didn't watch it, the chief conceit of the story i...
review

Mikagura School Suite BD+DVD

This offbeat school comedy/battle anime stars a happy-go-lucky lesbian schoolgirl and ten truckloads of bizarre ideas. Nick Creamer finds out if this weird adventure is worth watching. ― Mikagura School Suite is a bit of a hodgepodge. Starring the wildly girl-crazy Eruna Ichinomiya, it posits a school where joining clubs isn't just mandatory, it dictates where you can sleep, what you can eat, and all...
review

ERASED Blu-Ray 2

Despite stumbling a bit through its finale, ERASED comes to a satisfying conclusion overall. Rebecca Silverman wraps up this twisted mystery's highs and lows. ― There are several approaches a mystery story can take to solving its central crime, but perhaps one of the most frustrating is when the viewer has things figured out long before the detective does. Unfortunately, the second half of ERASED rea...
review

Mobile Suit Victory Gundam Sub. Blu-Ray part 1

Is this 1993 Gundam series that Tomino doesn't want people to see worth checking out despite his warnings? Lauren Orsini has the answers. ― This is the Gundam show director Yoshiyuki Tomino doesn't want you to watch. “I want to completely reject this work. These kind of results are the full responsibility of the director,” Tomino is quoted directly on Mobile Suit Victory Gundam's sales page. It's not...
review

Welcome to the Ballroom GN 1 & 2

Before its new anime adaptation airs this summer, Rebecca Silverman takes a look at Welcome to the Ballroom, a manga about professional dancesport. ― In terms of sports that are often denigrated as not being “real,” ballroom dance and cheerleading are probably at the top of the list. It is true that both have elements of the performing arts to them, and since it lacks the acrobatic feats of cheerlead...
review

Long Riders! Episodes 1-10 Streaming

After facing an alarming number of production delays that pushed its final episodes into February, is Long Riders! still worth checking out? Amy McNulty investigates. ― Long Riders! aims for that slice-of-life iyashikei healing vibe that so many all-girl-club anime offer. While the result is rarely a bore, there are so many negative details that it all adds up to a generally unsatisfying experience. ...
review

Ajin season 2

In Ajin's second season, the tension thickens as villains rise to power and all hell breaks loose. Theron Martin compares this second half to where the series started. ― After taking the summer 2016 season off, Ajin returned in the fall for another 13 episodes, which are now available in subbed and dubbed form exclusively on Netflix, continuously numbered from 14 on rather than numbered as a separate...
review

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid GN 2

The humor is balanced with some romance in this second volume, showing that Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has more to offer than you might expect. ― If the first volume of coolkyousinnjya's Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid established the series as a fun take on the monster girl genre, the second lets us know that it isn't strictly a gag series, and that Tohru's protestations of love for Miss Kobayashi ar...
review

Izetta: The Last Witch Episodes 1-12 Streaming

One of the biggest premieres of last fall's anime season seemed to run out of steam with audiences not long into its run. So what happened to Izetta: The Last Witch? Rose Bridges finds out. ― Izetta: The Last Witch was built up pretty heavily before its premiere last fall. Its first episode generated the most hype and buzz of all the premieres (even above Yuri!!! on Ice), by presenting a story that w...
game review

Review: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

It's Resident Evil as "true horror", returning to the concepts that spawned the franchise in the first place. But is it Resident Evil, or a "me too" take on modern horror? ― It's easy to imagine a world where Resident Evil 7 was just called Biohazard, marketed as a spiritual successor to the venerable zombie-killing franchise. It leaves behind the complicated series lore with its intense network of c...
review

Magic of Stella Episodes 1-12 Streaming

This slice-of-life comedy flew under the radar last fall, but Amy McNulty will shoot you straight on whether this doujin game club adventure is worth your time! ― Magic of Stella (the name makes sense when you learn it's a reference to one of the games they create) is small in scope but broad in appeal. It's a slice-of-life show with a comedic edge that never delves too heavily into slapstick comedy,...
game review

Review: Tales of Berseria

The latest Tales game goes darker than ever before, but does that make it better? Todd Ciolek cracks into the first big RPG of 2017! ― Tales games are struggles, and they're not just between a world-saving cadre of misfits and some ruthless villain or eldritch power. They're clashes of quality. On one side, you'll find entertaining characters and hectic, enjoyable battle systems. On the other, you'll...
review

Kindred Spirits On The Roof GN 1-2

Based on an adult yuri visual novel, Kindred Spirits on the Roof relies too much on readers having played the game to be truly enjoyable. ― Kindred Spirits on the Roof is based on the yuri visual novel of the same name, and if you aren't familiar with it, there's a good chance that the book won't hold a whole lot of appeal. This isn't because the two stories told within the volume aren't cute and swe...
review

The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún GN 1

This dark folktale-inspired manga takes us into the world of Irish mythology in a haunting debut. Rebecca Silverman digs deeper. ― Folklore is full of warnings for the careless: don't dance in the fairies' circle, eat no food in the underworld or fairy realms, don't listen to the siren's or rusalka's song – the list goes on. In the world of Nagabe's strange and haunting The Girl From the Other Side: ...
review

Review: Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions

After ten years of waiting, Yugi Muto's adventures continue in a king-sized movie that reunites the original dub cast! Gabriella Ekens revisits this childhood treasure. ― After more than 10 years of increasingly ridiculous sequels, the original Yu-Gi-Oh! – the one where Yugi Muto, the Pharaoh Atem, and their cadre of pals unearth 5000-year old secrets about the origins of a popular card game, Duel Mo...
review

Owarimonogatari Sub.Blu-Ray 2

Owarimonogatari’s second half offers a poignant sendoff to one of Monogatari’s minor players, while emphasizing the many lessons its heroes have learned. Nick Creamer takes a closer look. ― Monogatari's bizarre chronology can be frustrating at times. After the relatively straightforward continuity of Bake and Nise, Second Season saw the show jumping all around Araragi's final high school year, before...
review

Review: The Vision Of Escaflowne BD+DVD

This fantasy classic celebrates its 20th anniversary by coming to Blu-ray for the first time, with a brand-new English dub! Jacob Chapman explores just what makes this series so special. ― It's been over 20 years since The Vision of Escaflowne first aired, and let's face it, there aren't many 20-year old anime series you can expect the average anime fan to sit through with ease, much less the average...
review

Ange Vierge Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Does this fanservice-filled trading card game adaptation have the chops to stand out in a market crowded with both those things already? James Beckett finds out. ― Trading card game adaptations have a surprisingly wide variety of styles, tones, and themes, given their relatively simple origins. Some series choose to simply use the mythology of the game to forge their own unique story (Rage of Bahamut...
review

Review: Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen Blu-Ray

The first film in the epic Monogatari trilogy has finally arrived on Blu-ray! Nick Creamer breaks down all the goods on this deluxe release. ― Six years ago, it was announced the light novel Kizumonogatari would be receiving an anime adaptation. Following on the heels of the blockbuster success Bakemonogatari, Kizu acted as a prologue for that story, detailing the events that were briefly hinted at i...
review

Charlotte Blu-Ray 2

After a promising start, Charlotte's second half derails in multiple ways. Nick Creamer takes a look at what went wrong. ― Charlotte began as a fairly comprehensible and even sometimes engaging fantasy drama. The central conceit allowed for plenty of unique episodic narratives, as Yu, Tomori, and their associates traveled around and saved those abusing their own psychic powers. It wasn't a great show...
review

Qualidea Code Episodes 1-12 Streaming

This collaborative light-novel-project-turned-anime begins with tons of ambition and ends with tons of problems. James Beckett explains what went wrong. ― Qualidea Code belongs to a particular class of anime, one that I've come to refer as “anime stew”. An anime stew is any project that takes a bunch of ingredients we've seen dozens of times before, familiar themes and ideas and characters, then toss...
review

Big Order GN 1

Big Order's anime version may have been one of last year's biggest critical and popular bombs, but does the original manga fare any better? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― Big Order is the third of Sakae Esuno's manga to be released in English, and readers may have noticed a trend: with each series, the story gets more complicated and bizarre as the storytelling gets looser. The basic themes within Bi...
review

Aoharu x Machinegun GNs 1-2

The anime may have been tragically DOA, but is the original manga of this uniquely airsoft-driven shojo title worth checking out? Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― Aoharu x Machine Gun is that rare story that doesn't conform to one specific subgenre. Ostensibly this is a shounen action tale, but with its female protagonist (mistaken for a male, a la Ouran High School Host Club), surprising lack of vi...
review

Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas - Movie 1

So what the heck is this Chain Chronicle trilogy that's popped up out of the blue, and should you bother checking out its first movie? Theron Martin has the answers. ― Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas is the first of a trilogy of movies being released once a month between December 2016 and February 2017. A TV series version is also airing during the Winter 2017 season, but based on its first ...
review

Sailor Moon R The Movie

The Sailor Moon R Movie is in theaters across America tonight with a brand-new English dub, and it's long been one of the most beloved parts of that franchise - does it still hold up? ― Originally released in 1993 and later appearing on both VHS and DVD from Geneon between 1999 and 2004, Sailor Moon R Movie: Promise of the Rose is both the first of three Sailor Moon theatrical releases and the best. ...
review

BBK/BRNK: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy

This ambitious, cel-shaded, super-robot CGI adventure reaches its conclusion in the second half. But is it worth following this overstuffed story all the way through the end? ― The second season of BBK/BRNK starts off with a pretty bad case of “what now” syndrome. With Reoko and her group out of the picture and the other Bubuki teams scattered to the four winds, there's no obvious conflict for Azuma'...
review

Seiyu's Life! Sub.DVD

It may not be Shirobako or Girlish Number, but Seiyu's Life! offers a behind-the-scenes look at the industry that's bound to please fans of anime voice acting. ― Between Shirobako and Girlish Number came Seiyu's Life!, an “industry insider” series that garnered so little interest during the Summer 2015 season with its tepid first episode that it wasn't picked up for streaming reviews. Funimation also...
review

Show By Rock!!# Episodes 1-12 Streaming

In its second season, Sanrio's magical, musical adventure changes its format up despite recycling some of the first season's story. Is it an improvement or a step in the wrong direction? ― The first season of Show By Rock!! charmed audiences with an electric color scheme, anthropomorphic animal character designs, and toe-tapping musical numbers. Based on a rhythm phone game, it fleshed out this music...
review

Time Travel Girl Episodes 1-12 Streaming

High school student Mari Hayase embarks on a time traveling adventure in search of her missing father, meeting famous inventors along the way. ― Time Travel Girl manages to make a not-incredibly-original premise into an enjoyable enough affair on the strength of its characters and the humanistic look at some of history's greatest achievers. The show requires the audience to overlook some necessarily ...
review

The Ghost and the Lady [Hardcover] GN 2

This otherworldly take on the story of Florence Nightingale continues with more of its gorgeous art and ghostly twists on historical fiction. ― The narrator of Kazuhiro Fujita's The Ghost and the Lady, the famed Man in Grey who is said to haunt the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane, has never been shy about telling us that the story he is telling is a tragedy. And how could it be anything else? At the end ...
review

The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Novel 6

Things have slowed down for these unusual MgRonald's employees since the last catastrophe, but there are still a few divine mysteries to resolve before Satan can let his guard down again. ― They say that it's best not to meet your heroes. There's definitely some truth to that, because once you do, you're forced to realize that they're just people like the rest of us, prone to faults, failings, and be...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Novel 7

This seventh volume makes it easy to see that the anime adaptation ended before the best parts of its story really began. Rebecca Silverman explores further. ― After reading this seventh novel of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon, it's easy to conclude that the anime ended before the best parts of the story really began. This second story to take place after the end of the animated ada...
review

My Monster Secret GN 3

My Monster Secret settles into a comfortable rhythm in its third volume as Asahi's accidental harem gathers together for some summertime shenanigans. ― The idea that harem comedies “don't go anywhere” is a pretty common and understandable complaint. Manga in the genre often hang on a central “will they or won't they” question, but their chapters proceed as a series of moments where characters walk up...
review

Flip Flappers Episodes 1-13 Streaming

Artistically daring and narratively complex, Flip Flappers is an anime like no other. Nick Creamer dives into its world of Pure Illusion. ― The anime industry isn't generally structured to reward anime-original passion projects. The current funding model relies heavily on production committees that generally bank on “media mix” dividends - anime are funded because they'll sell source material, music ...
review

Magic-kyun! Renaissance Episodes 1-12 Streaming

This idol-flavored reverse harem is just unique enough to stand out from the crowd, if you're looking for a supremely sparkly good time. Rebecca Silverman explains why. ― If there were an award for the sparkliest anime of Fall 2016, Magic-kyun Renaissance would be one of the top contenders. As part of a multimedia franchise that includes an otome game and a manga series, the story not only actively b...
review

Miss Bernard said. Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Bookworms should find a lot to love about this short gag series starring a goofball who wants to be well-read without actually cracking open a book. Rose Bridges digs in. ― Miss Bernard Said., like many three-minute gag comedies, is highly specific in its content and appeal. It's worth stating this right out of the gate; this is a show for people who love books and consider themselves big readers. If...
review

Sword Art Online Novel 9

SAO finally moves past the anime material into its fifth story arc, with new characters in a brand-new game! Theron Martin sets off into this unknown territory. ― With its ninth novel, the SAO franchise officially moves its core storyline past the point where the animated adaptation ends, making it the perfect jump-on point if you haven't been following the novels but have seen the anime and want to ...
review

Bikini Warriors BD+DVD

Is this fanservice-fueled parody of fantasy RPGs worth watching? Theron Martin has the answers. ― Anime short series don't earn English dubs or even home video releases often, unless they're associated with an established franchise. (See The Adventures of Mini-Goddess or The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya.) So Funimation's decision to both dub and release this series of shorts from the Summer 201...
review

Utano☆Princesama Legend Star Episodes 1-12 Streaming

UtaPri's bevy of beautiful boys are back for a fourth season of musical cheesiness and a few genuinely surprising plot developments. ― Another year, another season of the candy-colored singing sensation Uta no Prince-sama, also known as UtaPri. This season, subtitled “Legend Star,” picks right up from the cliffhanger ending of season three, which ended with a three-way tie for the honor of performing...
review

Review: One Piece Film Gold

The newest, loudest, and flashiest One Piece movie will be out in theaters next week, but Sam Leach has our spoiler-free look at the movie's ups and downs! ― If there's one thing that Toei Animation irrefutably puts a ton of effort into, it's the theatrical One Piece movies. Ever since Strong World, these films have had manga author Eiichiro Oda playing the role of at least Executive Producer (and in...
review

Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno BD+DVD

Kyoto Inferno is a rambling but ultimately satisfying middle chapter in Kenshin’s live-action trilogy saga. Nick Creamer dives in. ― The first live-action Rurouni Kenshin accomplished a seemingly impossible feat, by translating a beloved but long-running shounen manga into a crisply paced and dramatically satisfying action movie, offering a satisfying experience for both existing Kenshin fans and new...
review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Episodes 1-39 Streaming

Could Diamond is Unbreakable be the best Jojo's saga yet? Nick Creamer has the answers. ― JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has certainly gone places. With Battle Tendency ending on a fight for the sake of the world, and Stardust Crusaders focusing on a globe-hopping battle against a vampire with time powers and laser eyes, it'd be hard for JoJo's fourth arc to raise the stakes in terms of scale. Instead, Dia...
review

Review: Code Geass Collector's Edition Blu-Ray

One of Sunrise's biggest hits arrives on Blu-Ray just in time for its ten-year anniversary! Jacob Chapman check out the release to see if this wild ride still holds up. ― Ten years after it initially aired, Code Geass still remains a megaton franchise in Japan. Not only have its spinoff OVAs continued to sell fantastically well to this day, but we even got the shocking announcement of a direct sequel...
review

Show By Rock!! BD+DVD

Sanrio's hit rhythm game adventure comes to life in anime form through the colorful music of Plasmagica and friends, but is this show worth watching on its own merits? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― Show by Rock has the kind of pedigree that might make you worry. Based on a rhythm game and owned by Sanrio, you could be forgiven for having serious misgivings about this series starring adorable people ...
review

Bloom into You GN 1

This yuri romance starts off in ways just different enough from the genre norm to be intriguing. Rebecca Silverman explains why. ― Asexuality is perhaps one of the least represented sexual orientations in fiction, and a yuri series is certainly one of the last places you might expect to find it. And yet the first volume of Nio Nakatani's Bloom into You has overtones of one of its heroines, Yuu, being...
review

Captive Hearts Of Oz GN 1

From the creators behind Alice in the Country of Hearts, this slightly meta retelling of the Wizard of Oz is not all it seems on the surface. Rebecca Silverman takes a closer look. ― Is there a QuinRose-shaped hole in your life where Alice in the Country of _______ used to be? Seven Seas may have you covered with one of their new titles, Captive Hearts of Oz. While not actually based on an otome game...
review

Castle Town Dandelion BD+DVD

This lighthearted comedy about nine siblings vying for a fairytale throne flew under the radar last year, but is it worth a look on Blu-Ray? Theron Martin investigates. ― Some anime series are best watched week-by-week as they broadcast, while some others are best suited for marathon viewing. This 12-episode series from 2015 decidedly falls in the former category, since its penchant for high-strung c...
review

Matoi the Sacred Slayer Episodes 1-12 Streaming

While its first episode made a bad enough first impression to slip our weekly streaming coverage, this magical girl series eventually develops a surprising amount of heart. ― This 12-episode series from the past fall season is the first original anime production by Studio White Fox, but it unfortunately made a negative first impression for a number of reasons. Its first episode showed little potentia...
review

Ocean Waves

Rarely seen, the low-profile Ocean Waves is in theaters today in New York for the first time. Is this obscurest of Ghibli movies a humdrum melodrama or a neglected marvel? ― Studio Ghibli rarely touches teenage romance. Most of their films present love within the innocence of childhood or the subtler currents of the adult world. Even offerings like Whisper of the Heart take an optimistic and precious...
review

Sky Wizards Academy BD+DVD

This light novel adaptation may be remembered for its silly title more than anything else, but is it at least worth checking out as a magic high school harem diversion? ― It's no surprise that Sky Wizards Academy is based on a series of light novels, because all the hallmarks are there: clumsy exposition, a story that deliberately teases major revelations without providing them, and enough focus on t...
review

Tokyo Ghoul GN 10

The characters all converge as the hunt for Dr. Kano draws closer to the madman's lair. What will this mean for Kaneki and how the CCG views the ghouls? ― Ever since Ken Kaneki received a deliberate transplant of ghoul organs and became a demi-ghoul, he's lived in the shared fear all ghouls have of being caught by the CCG, the special anti-ghoul police force. But is that fear truly valid in Kaneki's ...
review

The Case Study of Vanitas GN 1

Jun Mochizuki's latest series is a gorgeous steampunk adventure that's sure to draw in any fan of vampires and folklore. Rebecca Silverman checks it out. ― Jun Mochizuki may have the market on fantasy 19th century settings in manga – her story worlds are a fascinating combination of exquisitely rendered historical detail and strange, yet gorgeous, contemporary trappings. If there is one thing that wi...
review

Platinum End GN 1

The creative team behind Death Note and Bakuman have published a new story together about death, rebirth, and a contest for godhood. But is it any good? Nick Creamer investigates. ― It seemed almost inevitable that Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata would reunite for a series like Platinum End. The two's first collaboration, Death Note, stands as one of the most successful manga and anime franchises in r...
review

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

The strengths and weaknesses of Arslan's legend are enhanced in its second half, raising just enough questions and excitement for season two. Theron Martin investigates. ― Although it had its share of intrigue, the first season of this anime adaptation was primarily about two things: a young prince collecting stalwart companions while trying to make his way to safety and a young prince contemplating ...
review

Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace BD+DVD

Rampo Kitan relies too heavily on viewer knowledge of Edogawa Rampo's works to be a good time for all viewers, but if you're a Rampo fan, it may be worth checking out. ― You don't have to have read the works of Edogawa Rampo to watch this series, but it definitely helps. Based heavily on the mystery and ero guro stories of the late Hiro Tarai (his real name), Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace not only use...
review

Overlord Limited Edition BD+DVD

Overlord's got just enough tricks up its sleeve to make it an interesting take on the "trapped in a game" scenario. Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― By this point, the fantasy subgenre of “trapped in an MMORPG” is beginning to wear thin, so what is it about Overlord that makes it worth your time? Well, if you've already written this genre off, the series isn't likely to change your mind, but if you ...
review

Snow White with the Red Hair Season One BD+DVD

This lackadaisical shojo fairytale offers a softer and more thoughtful take on fantasy romance. Theron Martin explores what makes this series special. ― The name for this 2015 manga adaptation comes from Shirayuki translating into English as “Snow White,” and a few pointed references to the classic fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs do pop up: the opening line of the series is the famous “Mir...
review

Review: Rurouni Kenshin Part I: Origins BD+DVD

The first Rurouni Kenshin film compresses a sprawling original narrative into a riveting and surprisingly faithful adaptation. Nick Creamer explores what this film does right. ― I'll confess, I'm not personally a Rurouni Kenshin diehard. Though Kenshin's heyday coincided with my own introduction into anime fandom, I never watched the full original series or read the manga it was based on. That said, ...
review

Twinkle Stars GN 1

Twinkle Stars is classic Natsuki Takaya, from the troubled-yet-sweet heroine to the themes of familial love lost, but does it lay things on too thick, too fast? ― If there is one unifying feature of Natsuki Takaya's manga, it's that there is always a darkness lurking behind the cheery facades of her characters. In Liselotte and Witch's Forest, Liselotte has been exiled from her homeland; in Fruits Ba...
game review

Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS

Can the portable version of this addictive nostalgia-bomb live up to the success of its predecessor? That might depend on what kind of Mario Maker you're looking for. ― Every once in a while, there's a game that comes along that makes me say “who wanted this?” Well, sure, I bet there were plenty of folks out there who said “Yeah, I love Super Mario Maker, but it'd be really cool to have a portable ve...
review

Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water [Limited Edition] Blu-Ray 2

Despite glossing over important information, Asterisk War's second set of episodes is still a decently entertaining magic high school story. ― The second half of The Asterisk War's first season is both an improvement on its first and more of the same. In part this is achieved by focusing a little less on series male protagonist Ayato in favor of Kirin, the younger girl introduced towards the end of t...
review

Seraph of the End BD+DVD Collector's Edition

The full series of Seraph of the End gets the deluxe treatment in this glossy release, but how does the show hold up overall? Theron Martin investigates. ― Note: Because I have previously separately reviewed the first half of the series, this review and its rating will almost entirely concentrate on the second half and collector's edition bonuses. The first half of Seraph of the End was passable as a...
review

Hunter × Hunter Blu-Ray 1

Mike Toole gets his hands on the special edition blu-ray release of Hunter x Hunter's first story arc. Does this 2011 remake of the shonen classic live up to its hype? ― Right from the beginning, Hunter x Hunter trades in adventure. The show's narrator darkly invites the viewer to seek out monsters, hidden treasures, and evil haunts. (Evil haunts are my favorite type of haunts.) It's a series rooted ...
review

Owarimonogatari Sub.Blu-Ray 1

Owarimonogatari’s first few arcs turn inwards, offering new insights into Araragi’s character. Nick Creamer takes a look. ― For as much as his voice often dominates the narrative, Monogatari rarely dedicates an arc to Araragi's own apparitions or history. The only arc up until now that you could truly call “his” is Kizumonogatari - drenched in self-loathing and guided by his self-sacrificing spirit, ...
review

God Eater Blu-Ray 1

God Eater's first half takes a bit to get going, but proves to be a pretty good watch for those with a taste for action RPG storytelling. Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― Based on the series of popular action RPGs, God Eater's first seven episodes have the unenviable task of convincing viewers that this series can either live up its source material or stand separately from it. Since this isn't alway...
review

The Ghost and the Lady GN 1

From Scotland Yard's Black Museum to the battlefields of the Crimean War, The Ghost and the Lady's first volume is a fascinating piece of historical fiction with an engrossing art style. ― This is a manga about things that really happened, wrapped in a layer of things that didn't. In other words, it's historical fantasy – fictionalized historical events with a touch of the supernatural. The Ghost and...
review

Goblin Slayer Novel 1

As a light novel fantasy that isn't based on someone being transported to a game world, Goblin Slayer's first volume is well worth a look. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Goblin Slayer stands alone among other fantasy light novels released in English (with the exception of the now out-of-print Slayers novels) in that it doesn't feature a world entirely based on gaming. Yes, there is mention of “experie...
review

Review: Sailor Moon S Blu-Ray/DVD

One of the most beloved seasons in this classic anime is finally available to own with a brand-new dub! Rebecca Silverman explores how well Sailor Moon S holds up after all these years. ― Sailor Moon S is hailed as one of the best seasons of the five-season series, and even just from the first few episodes, you can see why. Unlike its predecessors, Sailor Moon S gets right down to business introducin...
review

Maria the Virgin Witch BD+DVD

This unusual historical fantasy anime might have gotten lost in the shuffle of bigger titles over time, but it's still one of a kind today. Theron Martin explores just what makes this series special. ― Maria the Virgin Witch is a remarkable series in many respects. It's nearly as raunchy as a high-end fanservice anime – even being assigned a TV-MA rating despite not having any detailed nudity – and y...
review

Summer Wars [Hosoda Collection] BD+DVD

The extras are insightful in this new release of Summer Wars, even if the story may not hold up the way it once did. Rebecca Silverman offers her take on Mamoru Hosoda's breakout film. ― Time is the greatest test of any work. Poems written by Heian era women over a thousand years ago are still intimately relatable to modern readers, novels by men in the 19th century still have a lot to say about soci...
game review

Review: Final Fantasy XV

After a decade in development, the latest entry in the Final Fantasy franchise is finally here! Dustin Bailey has the lowdown on this bishounen-packed road trip. ― Every time you boot up Final Fantasy XV, it presents you with a message, calling itself a “Final Fantasy for fans and first timers.” The series' disconnected chronology has always favored reinvention, but this one takes that that further t...
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

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 3 GN 1

Jotaro Kujo is the latest Joestar to take up the mantle of a bizarre adventure. How does this third Jojo stack up against the previous two? ― It can sometimes feel like a shame for an author to kill off a particularly excellent bad guy. Thinking about it in that light, it's impressive that Hirohiko Araki was able to keep Dio Brando, the arch-nemesis of Jonathan Joestar and the man responsible for his...
game review

Review: Dragon Ball Fusions

This 3DS game is a goofy mashup of characters, places, and memorable flourishes from every corner of Dragon Ball. Todd Ciolek takes a look. ― Dragon Ball Fusions says a lot in its title. It's ostensibly about the art of fusion, which in Dragon Ball canon finds two or more character blending themselves into a more powerful being. Yet it could refer to the game just as easily, as this 3DS game is a goo...
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...

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