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review

The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Scars They Left Behind Novel

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

Dagashi Kashi BD+DVD

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

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

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

Endride BD+DVD part 1

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

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Novel 3

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

Tokyo Ghoul GNs 11-13

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

your name. [Hardcover] Novel

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

Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions BD+DVD

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

The Water Dragon's Bride GN 2

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

Gosick Part One BD+DVD

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

Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy Sub.Blu-Ray

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

My Monster Secret GN 4

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

Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic (English Dub)

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

Dreamin' Sun GN 1

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

Prince of Stride: Alternative BD+DVD

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

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

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

Sound of the Sky Sub.Blu-Ray

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

Lu over the wall

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

Uncomfortably Happily GN

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

Corpse Party: Blood Covered GN 3

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

The Asterisk War [Limited Edition] Blu-Ray 4

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

Delicious in Dungeon GN 1

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

Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi - Seasons 1 & 2 + OVAs DVD

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

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

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

Snow White with the Red Hair 2 BD+DVD

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

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma GN 18

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

UQ Holder! GN 9

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

Miss Hokusai BD+DVD

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

Gleam GN 1

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

Murciélago GN 1 & 2

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

Blame! movie

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

Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest Novel 1

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

Sword Art Online Novel 10

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

Hatsune Miku: Bad∞End∞Night GN 1

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

Void's Enigmatic Mansion GN 5

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

Ronja the Robber's Daughter Complete Series Streaming

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

My Brother's Husband GN 1

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

K: Missing Kings BD+DVD

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

Complex Age GNs 3 & 4

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

My Hero Academia GN 8

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

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

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

Smokin' Parade GN 1

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

Momotaro, Sacred Sailors BD+DVD

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

Attack on Titan: Junior High BD+DVD

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

Review: The Red Turtle

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

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

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

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 7

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

Goblin Slayer Novel 2

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

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

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

Steins;Gate: The Movie BD+DVD

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

The Betrayal Knows My Name Sub.DVD

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

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

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

BAKEMONOGATARI: Monster Tale Novel 1

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

School-Live! GNs 4-6

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

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (compilation movies)

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

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

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

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory Blu-Ray

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

Dragon Quest Heroes II

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

Scrapped Princess BD+DVD

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

That Wolf-Boy is Mine! GN 4

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

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

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

There's a Demon Lord On the Floor GN 1

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

Paying to Win in a VRMMO Novels 1 & 2

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

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Blu-Ray

This fantasy light novel adaptation may never fully answer the question in its title, but it does capture the adventuring spirit of RPG gaming. Theron Martin explores this Dungeon's depths. ― The full title of this 2015 series (mercifully shortened to DanMachi) is arguably misleading, since it immediately inverts this supposed premise, and Bell never actually tries to pick up girls in a Dungeon. Howe...
review

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Novel 1

This isekai story attempts to spice things up with a 30-year old protagonist instead of the usual high school hero, but does it stand out otherwise? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― How many more “guys taken to a parallel world that functions like an MMORPG” stories can we really take? That's a question that more than one of us may very well be asking at this point; even if the genre is hardly new, it ...
review

Piacevole: My Italian Cooking Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Does this bite-sized cooking anime have the chops to stand alongside fan favorites like Food Wars or Sweetness and Lightning? Rose Bridges finds out if Piacevole is worth your time. ― I love a good cooking anime as much as the next food-loving otaku. Feature-length anime must manage to have their cake and eat it too by pleasing food lovers with delicious cooking scenes and recipes, but also working i...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 6

The Ancient Magus’ Bride settles into a comfortable rhythm as Chise’s circle of friends expands around the holiday season. Nick Creamer has the details. ― At this point, The Ancient Magus' Bride has thoroughly explored the nature of the bond between Chise and Elias. The two of them are vaguely codependent in a way that isn't necessarily good or bad for either, but could easily spell trouble depending...
review

Kizumonogatari III: Reiketsu-hen

The Kizumonogatari trilogy comes to an end, as Araragi finally cements his fate for the many Monogatari stories to follow. Nick Creamer breaks down this final film's highs and lows. ― We generally have certain expectations regarding endings. We expect, if not happiness, at least some sense of finality. Some kind of closure to a story's dramatic journey. We have followed characters through some clear ...
review

Super Lovers Seasons 1 & 2 Streaming

This BL anime's triple-taboo premise left most viewers balking, but is there anything in Super Lovers worth watching? Rebecca Silverman has the answers. ― Super Lovers is not an inherently terrible show. As with all romances, it's important to remember that this is a type of fantasy, and what one consumer finds appealing on that level is liable to turn another off, just as some people prefer dark fan...
review

Key the Metal Idol - Complete OVA Series DVD

Idol series may be all the rage nowadays, but Key's idol adventure from 1994 is unlike any other. Take a trip back in time with Theron Martin to discover what makes this unusual series so special. ― In many respects, Key the Metal Idol is an aberration of an anime series. It was released as an OVA of 13 standard episodes between 1994 and 1996, followed by two movie-length episodes released in 1997. I...
review

UQ Holder! GN 8

This shonen manga coasts through a training arc volume with the usual ups and downs. Nick Creamer investigates. ― The first couple chapters of UQ Holder's eighth volume are a fairly cruel bait-and-switch. We open with Tota and his friends on the precipice of a grand martial arts tournament, winning fights and earning bruises and slowly getting stronger. Then, just when it seems we might be segueing i...
review

Clockwork Planet GN 1

Clockwork Planet's brand-new anime adaptation may be getting mixed reviews, but how does its manga version hold up? Rebecca Silverman finds out what makes this story tick. ― Clockwork Planet comes to us from the same author who created No Game, No Life, but the similarities are fairly sparse, limited mostly to the fact that the protagonist is an otaku. But high school student Naoto isn't into video g...
review

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian DVD

This book-obsessed gothic lolita adventure has a whole lot in common with 2011's Gosick - but should fans of that series check this one out? Theron Martin investigates. ― The Goth loli fad which rose in anime during the 2000s arguably peaked in 2011 with two series: Gosick in the Winter and Spring seasons and this one in the Summer season. The two bear a number of similarities, especially in the main...
review

Don't Be Cruel: Akira Takanashi's Story GN

This boys' love spinoff may not be easily called a “nice” story, but it is a hopeful one. Rebecca Silverman spills the details. ― Technically, you don't need to have read SuBLime's previous releases of Yonezou Nekota's Don't Be Cruel yaoi manga to understand this stand-alone spin-off. Although the protagonists of the main series, Maya and Nemugasa, are both mentioned (Akira is Maya's cousin and Nemug...
review

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Novel 1

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers blends mystery with fantasy in a unique light novel that plays around with the usual tropes in interesting ways. Rebecca Silverman delves deeper. ― Unlike many other fantasy light novels that have seen recent English-language releases, Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers does not take an ordinary guy and transport him to a fantasy world. It doesn't feature just one “chos...
review

Rewrite season 2

This Key anime's first season may have been a bust, but can its second half make up for the disappointment? Theron Martin reveals if things got better for Rewrite or even worse. ― The first season of this Key visual novel adaptation is widely-regarded as a disappointment, partly because of how loosely and poorly it structures the game's story, and partly because it just doesn't come together well in ...
game review

Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City

It's the final piece of DLC for the final Dark Souls game - but does Dave Riley have any energy or spirit left for Dark Souls? The Ringed City puts him to the test. ― The Ringed City opens on a vertiginous sight: a sheer cliffside overlooking a bristling conglomeration of towers and mountain peaks spiraling down as far as the eye can see. Shattered chapels jut horizontally from ruined ground and terr...
review

Martian Successor Nadesico Blu-Ray

It's the 20th anniversary of Martian Successor Nadesico, the sci-fi comedy that lit up otaku back in the 90s, and now the entire franchise is available in one bluray box. But does it still hold up? ― I'm just about old enough to remember when Martian Successor Nadesico became a thing; someone carried the first fansub VHS into an anime club screening back in the late 90s (the first tape featured only ...
review

Nichijou Sub.Blu-Ray + DVD

After many long years in licensing limbo, this fan favorite comedy is finally available on a modest Blu-ray release. Nick Creamer explains just what makes this series so special. ― Nichijou's had a rough ride making it over here. First produced in 2011, it was initially slated for release by Bandai Entertainment, before Bandai shut down their Western release arm. Stuck in limbo ever since, it's been ...
review

Kemono Friends Episodes 1-12 Streaming

How did Kemono Friends go from panned kiddie show to the biggest meme and unexpected hit of the last season? Nick Creamer reveals the secrets of Japari Park. ― I'll get this out of the way right at the start: Kemono Friends is not a beautiful show. Combining relatively pleasant painted backgrounds with jarring, simplistic CG characters, it's not going to be winning any best art or animation awards. T...
review

Boruto - Naruto Next Generations GN 1

Naruto and Hinata’s son, Boruto Uzumaki, tackles the Chūnin exams while struggling to connect to his famous father in this manga behind this season's brand-new Naruto sequel! ― By and large, the first volume of the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations manga matches about the first half of the the Boruto: Naruto the Movie film released in 2015. This isn't entirely surprising, given the manga's writer, Ukyo...
review

Water Dragon's Bride GN 1

This unusually dark fantasy romance is a good read for fairytale fans who want an escape with a little more bite to it. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― As readers of Rei Toma's previously translated series Dawn of the Arcana know, she writes fantasy with teeth. The Water Dragon's Bride (not to be confused with the manhwa series Bride of the Water God, although there are some similarities) is not a char...
review

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

We've endured the hype for months, and the film is finally here, so we asked author Brian Ruh to tell us: is the live-action Ghost in the Shell any good? The answer is complicated. ― “Hack your own brain!” I remember sitting in a movie theater in 1995, legs bouncing from the adrenaline of excitement, ready to take in a screening of Johnny Mnemonic. I had been waiting for this film for a long time, an...
review

Your Name. (English Dub)

Gabriella Ekens breaks down how Your Name. works as a culmination of Makoto Shinkai's career and why it became such a megahit in this first look at Funimation's english dub release! ― I feel like I've been waiting to be impressed by Makoto Shinkai. That's not to say that his previous work has been bad. It's just been a bit aimless, repetitive, or overwhelmed by a tendency to wallow in his signature a...
game review

Review: Persona 5

Can this highly anticipated JRPG live up to the legacy of its predecessors? Dave Riley explores what new innovations Persona 5 brings to the table. ― Even though it's five hours before the game slips the tutorial reins and lets you loose in a full-on dungeon, Persona 5's opening grips you immediately and doesn't let go. In contrast to the milquetoast player-inserts of games past, this player-characte...
review

Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl GN 1

This yuri romance's first volume has some significant issues up front, but it also have the potential to improve. Rebecca Silverman explains. ― It has been a good few months for fans of yuri manga, and Kiss and White Lily for my Dearest Girl marks Yen Press' foray into the genre, at least in the subgenre of schoolgirl romance. Set at the all girls' academy Seiran, the story follows former top student...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 6: Dawn of the Golden Witch Volume 2 GN 14

Erika takes a new tack in this middle volume of three omnibuses. It's a good development, but the book has some overall pacing issues. ― Sometimes having the shoe on the other foot can work wonders. Other times, it can make us complacent. That seems to be the major factor at play here in the middle volume of Umineko: When They Cry's sixth arc, Dawn of the Golden Witch - with Battler having switched s...
review

Species Domain GN 1

Fairy changelings aren't a common subject for manga set in high school, but Species Domain's unique take on the idea is well worth a read. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― The literature of changelings, fairy children left in exchange for more desirable human ones, has deep roots, with some theorizing that the stories were developed to explain children born with birth defects or conditions like A...
review

Spirits & Cat Ears GN 1

Its story may not hold much weight under the surface, but if you're looking for kitty cosplay and bondage in a light romance, Spirits & Cat Ears is a breezy read. ― If you're a fan of Inu x Boku SS, Miyuki Nakayama's Spirits & Cat Ears is here to fill in for its absence. It's something of a spiritual successor to that series, with similar art and character relationships – not so similar that it feels...
review

Erased [Hardcover] GN 1

Erased's first omnibus gives us a lot more detail than its animated adaptation as it kicks off the time travel mystery. ― We all have that incident, the one we wish we could change. It might be a tiny little statement or a major catastrophe; whatever it is, there's a vague wish that we could relive the moment in order to prevent it from happening, a certainty that if that one thing changed, everythin...
review

Assassination Classroom Season 2 BD+DVD

The pacing is rushed as Assassination Classroom hustles towards its endgame, but even that can't really bring this series down. ― With the March deadline for Koro-sensei's assassination looming ever-closer, the stakes are getting higher for Class E. But what does that mean, exactly? Yes, they're running out of time to kill their tentacled teacher, but they're also going to have to somehow make a chan...
review

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Novel 1

The isekai genre goes from swords and sorcery to pencils and paper pushing in this story about an economics student summoned to a fantasy world who becomes a very different kind of hero. ― Have you ever wondered why more of those heroes and heroines summoned to other worlds don't put their knowledge of modern life to work? Sure, in some stories the characters don't have that luxury thanks to convenie...
review

Magia the Ninth GN 1 & 2

Magia the Ninth makes a valiant effort to combine classical music and exorcist action, but it stumbles more than succeeds in these poorly paced volumes. Rebecca Silverman explains what went wrong. ― They say that music soothes the savage beast, but rarely is that taken quite so literally as in Ichiya Sazanami's two-volume manga series Magia the Ninth. The premise of the story will be vaguely familiar...
review

Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water [Limited Edition] Blu-Ray 3

Things heat up both at the Festa and behind the scenes in the third quarter of The Asterisk War. Rebecca Silverman dives back into this magic high school harem. ― Occasionally, I have to wonder if anyone in this series know what the word “fair” means? Granted, that's likely a purposeful question, since the series follows the grand old tradition of dystopian young adult fiction by pitting teens agains...
review

Anonymous Noise GN 1

Anonymous Noise is a solid reminder of why shoujo romance can be such angsty good fun. Rebecca Silverman shares what to expect before its anime adaptation comes out this spring! ― Get out your love calculators, everyone, because Anonymous Noise looks like it will have the most complicated love geometry since Marmalade Boy. The basic premise of the story sets heroine Nino Arisugawa up with two potenti...
review

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Novels 1 & 2

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash's original novels aren't as introspective as their anime adaptation, but they still fray the edges of the isekai genre in interesting ways. Rebecca Silverman explains. ― Other-world stories (or isekai) have become familiar to consumers of Japanese light novels, and they rarely seem to come with grave consequences for their protagonists, at least not always life-or-death one...

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