Review
Archives

  • All
  • Australia / NZ
  • Anime
  • Manga
  • Novels
  • Games
  • Music
  • Merch
  • Events
  • Industry
  • People
  • Live-Action
Text-only Compact View
Text-only List View
Text-only Grid View
List View with Images
Grid View with Images
review

The Asterisk War GN 1

The Asterisk War's manga adaptation makes a perfectly serviceable debut, even if this magic high school adventure is nothing unique. Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― If you've ever read or watched a Magic High School story before, you'll immediately be able to draw parallels to The Asterisk War. That's not because the manga adaptation of Yuu Miyazaki's light novel series isn't good, but rather becau...
review

Kagerou Daze Novel 4

Kagerou Daze is slowly improving as a series, but it continues to suffer from less than stellar writing and unlikable characters. Rebecca Silverman breaks down this twisted story. ― Kagerou Daze has the dubious distinction of being one of the most difficult light novels currently being published in English to follow. In part, this is due to the dense language of the first two books, although that tha...
review

Liselotte & Witch's Forest GN 1

This fantasy romance from Fruits Basket creator Natsuki Takaya weaves a magical blend of sweetness and melancholy, but can it stand apart from her previous work? Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― Despite several of her other works being translated and released in English, Natsuki Takaya remains best known for her series Fruits Basket, whose light fantasy premise hid surprising emotional depths. Lisel...
review

Kuromukuro Episodes 1-13 Streaming

This Netflix-licensed spring season anime is finally available for streaming! Was this mecha adventure worth the wait? Theron Martin takes a look. ― We've seen anime about a person from the present being catapulted into the future to become an ace mecha pilot before (see Buddy Complex, among possibly others), but a person from the past coming to the present instead? That's certainly a new twist. It's...
review

UQ Holder! GN 7

As the stakes and strengths of his opponents climb impossibly high, Tota finally finds himself faced with a real challenge in this seventh volume of Ken Akamatsu's action manga. ― UQ Holder has had a rocky journey up until now, and much of that has come down to the manga's awkward fundamental assumptions. Tota lies near the heart of the story's various problems; not only is he actually immortal, but ...
review

Selector Spread WIXOSS BD+DVD

This first installment in the WIXOSS franchise comes to a close, with shocking reveals and mixed results. Theron Martin takes a look at what's in the cards for this series going forward. ― Despite its partial name change, this 12 episode series from the Fall 2014 season is a direct follow-up to Selector Infected Wixoss. It assumes and requires full familiarity with Infected for it to make sense, so t...
review

Genshiken: Second Season GN 8

As Genshiken plows further and further into harem romcom territory, Nick Creamer weighs the pros and cons of putting these characters in an increasingly meta situation. ― Genshiken's claim to fame has always been its ability to capture the unvarnished humanity of its otaku heroes. Whether they were heading to a comics festival or arguing about pairings or introducing one of their members to a new hob...
review

So Cute It Hurts!! GN 7

So Cute It Hurts is still likely to send you into sugar shock, even though its final pages take things in a disturbing direction. Rebecca Silverman breaks down the twists and turns. ― As far as cross-dressing characters in manga go, Megumu Kobayashi may be one of the least convincing. Go Ikeyamada has a somewhat checkered history with that (one of her previous series, Uwasa no Midori-kun, has an even...
review

Den-noh Coil Blu-Ray

Despite taking nine years to be released in English, this unique series about how augmented reality tech could change the world is more timely now than ever. Theron Martin dives in. ― Den-noh Coil is an original anime production and the brainchild of Mitsuo Iso, a name that even dedicated anime fans probably aren't familiar with unless they are steeped in knowledge of key animators. (He has done work...
review

Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto GN 4

Sakamoto walks off into the sunset in this final volume of Nami Sato's breakout comedy manga. But do Sakamoto's adventures come to a surprisingly emotional conclusion instead? ― It's hard to believe, but with this volume of Nami Sato's breakout manga, our time with Sakamoto comes to an end. Whether it was planned this way or not, each volume ends up representing one season of Sakamoto's school life, ...
review

Gundam Build Fighters Blu-Ray

Lauren Orsini takes a look at the first Gundam series revolving completely around Gunpla models. Is there secretly much more to this series underneath its toy commercial polish? ― Let's address the elephant in the room: Gundam Build Fighters is a toy commercial. However, it's an amazing toy commercial with beautiful animation, innovative mecha designs, humor, and heart—one that I want to watch again ...
review

The Empire of Corpses BD+DVD

When young John Watson's friend dies, he tries to replicate Frankenstein's reanimation of a corpse in this darkly fascinating 19th-century adventure from Studio Wit. So how does this unusual horror tale turn out? ― When Mary Shelley published her novel Frankenstein in 1818, I wonder if she had any idea how enduring it would become. The tale of Dr. Victor Frankenstein's efforts to create life from dea...
review

Assassination Classroom BD+DVD Part One

Assassination Classroom takes its bizarre premise to surprisingly sentimental heights in its first eleven episodes. Rebecca Silverman explores just what makes this shonen story so special. ― It isn't a perfect comparison, but in many ways Assassination Classroom is like a combination of Dead Poets' Society and Akame ga Kill. That's what you get when you take a story about a strange, smiley-faced mult...
review

The Boy and The Beast BD+DVD

The Boy and the Beast is a disjointed but ultimately endearing story redeemed by the strength of its central father-son relationship. Nick Creamer breaks down this film's highs and lows. ― Mamoru Hosoda has a thing or two to say about families. Big families, like the one headlined in Summer Wars, which essentially posited “what if we made this film's protagonist an entire, multi-generational extended...
review

Wagnaria!!3 Sub.Blu-Ray Part 1

Wagnaria kicks off its third season with the same gentle workplace comedy antics, but have things already begun to change in this more eventful series of episodes? Paul Jensen dives in. ― It feels very appropriate for Wagnaria to take place in a diner-style restaurant, as the series has several things in common with the kind of food you'd expect to find at such a place. It may not be the best thing i...
review

Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon Blu-Ray 1

This controversial mecha action show finally lands on bluray - Theron Martin takes it for another spin to see how it holds up after a year. ― Cross Ange is an anime-original series which focuses on sexy female mecha pilots and is squarely aimed at a male audience. Yona of the Dawn is a fantasy series based on a shojo manga and decidedly skewed towards a female audience. Despite the differing origins,...
review

Umineko When They Cry Episode 6: Dawn of the Golden Witch Volume 1 GN 13

Umineko heads into meta territory as a new gamemaster takes over. While the mystery rapidly intensifies, real answers finally feel like they're just around the corner. ― And here we are again. This omnibus begins the sixth cycle of Ryukishi07's Umineko: When They Cry manga, which is the second of four “answer” arcs. This is the first time Battler's been in charge of the story, having defeated Beatric...
review

My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is a sturdy and consistently rewarding start to the hit shounen adventure, even if it’s not quite as explosive it could have been. Nick Creamer breaks down its strengths and weaknesses. ― Debuting just two years ago, My Hero Academia has swiftly become one of the headline manga of Shounen Jump, a rip-roaring adventure elevated by strong art, charming characters, and consistent master...
review

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign BD+DVD

This vampire-slashing action adventure succeeds as reliable popcorn entertainment, but does it have any ambitions beyond the same old predictable blood and spectacle? Theron Martin investigates. ― This release covers the first half of the 24-episode adaptation of Takaya Kagami's manga, which aired on TV in Japan during the Spring 2015 season. In many respects, it is a very typical Weekly Shonen Jump ...
review

Space Patrol Luluco

Space Patrol Luluco is an uneven but often charming journey into first love and hot-blooded justice. ― Hiroyuki Imaishi's name is almost synonymous with the Studio Trigger brand. After providing dynamic key animation and highlights like FLCL's manga sequences early in his career, he became the flagship director for Gainax's last big hits, handling Gurren Lagann and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt ...
review

Haikyu!! GN 1

Haikyu's first volume is just as much about the players as the sport of volleyball as Hinata and Kageyama meet, hate each other, and have to learn to get along if they're ever going to be able to play as a team. ― For non-athletes, it can be difficult to understand the draw of a sports story, and if your memories of gym class (or volleyball) are mostly made up of getting a ball to the face or being p...
review

Psycome Novel 1

Mizuki Mizushiro's parody of the "special school" and harem genres can be kind of gruesome, but it succeeds more than it fails as a twisted satire. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― Psycome is not a novel for the faint of heart. Featuring a hero framed for the brutal murders of twelve people and set in a school/penitentiary, there are plenty of moments of physical violence and references to rape. If you c...
review

School-Live! GN 3

This volume of the manga approaches the end of School-Live's anime-adapted material, but also gets the opportunity to flesh out the world of this zombie apocalypse in greater detail. ― How does the world end? For the four heroines of School-Live's zombie/moe mashup, it ends not with the zombie apocalypse, but with the threat of a simple mistake and a few secrets that perhaps should never have been ke...
review

Battle Rabbits GN 1

Not-so-ordinary high school boy Kaguya is about to have his world changed when he learns that he's actually a Battle Rabbit, a race of rabbit people from the moon charged with protecting the Earth in this bizarre but fun new series from the creators of 07-Ghost. ― Seven Seas has made a practice of licensing monster girl manga series, so now it's time for something a little different – a monster boy. ...
review

Complex Age GN 1

Complex Age presents a thoughtful look at how hobbies, such as the heroine's cosplay, can affect the so-called real world in a first volume that promises an interesting series to come. ― Most of us maintain a separation between our work lives and our home lives. Many times that's because we simply need the emotional rest, but sometimes it's because our home lives involve hobbies that we'd just as soo...
review

7th Garden GN 1

7th Garden's implied future story is more interesting than its surface plot, but this is still an intriguing science fiction/fantasy hybrid with some beautifully detailed art. ― There's sometimes a very fine line between fantasy and science fiction, especially when it comes to basing that designation on the setting. Mitsu Izumi (who wrote the AnoHana manga)'s 7th Garden flirts with this line more and...
review

Everyone's Getting Married GN 1

Everyone's Getting Married is an interesting examination of relationship goals with nary a school uniform in sight. It won't work for everyone, but it's a neat take on the romance genre. ― A woman who wants to quit her job, get married, and be a housewife? Oh no! Is this manga promoting outdated notions of a “woman's place?” That's the easy knee-jerk reaction to Izumi Miyazono's Everyone's Getting Ma...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ Sub.Blu-Ray Collection 2

The formerly comedic MSG ZZ takes an unexpectedly dark turn in its divisive second half. Lauren Orsini explores what went wrong for this unusual Gundam entry. ― In the first half of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, there were already signs that this comedy show was verging toward a major tonal shift. If the joking tone was already jarring after the grim events of its prequel, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, this show...
review

Don't Be Cruel [2-in-1 Edition] GN 1

This boys' love double feature contains two complete different stories that happen to star the same characters. Rebecca Silverman examines which of these two romantic tales outshines the other. ― This may sound disingenuous, but Don't Be Cruel's first two-volume omnibus really is two different books. By this I mean that while volumes one and two are about the same characters, the stories they're invo...
review

Shonen Hollywood: Holly Stage for 49 Sub.DVD

Shonen Hollywood takes a more down-to-earth approach to the idol anime business, but does it succeed in finding its own voice? Nick Creamer investigates. ― Shonen Hollywood is reflective of two major emergent trends in anime: shows about idols and shows about attractive young men aimed at a largely female audience. Given that, it'd be easy for many fans to dismiss the show as “not their thing,” parti...
review

Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! BD+DVD

This lighthearted parody of otaku fetishes has its moments, but there may be only so many pigtail jokes you can pack into twelve episodes. ― How much do you like pigtails, or twin-tails as they're known in anime? Probably not as much as Soji, the protagonist of Gonna be the Twin-Tail, one of the weirder otaku parodies to come out in recent years. Soji is obsessed with the hairstyle to the point where...
review

Fairy Tail BD+DVD 20

The beginning of the Tartaros Arc marks a dark shift in tone for the adventures of Natsu and friends. Rebecca reflects on what changes the anime has made to the even grimmer manga version of these events. ― The Tartaros Arc of Fairy Tail is one of the darkest thus far – and that's toning it down quite a bit from the manga. While this show usually takes what I think of as the Soul Calibur Approach to ...
review

Orange (live-action film)

The critically acclaimed shojo manga Orange is getting an anime adaptation this summer, but Theron Martin has a review of the live-action movie right now! How does this romantic tale translate to the big screen? ― The first two volumes of Ichigo Takano's manga have already been released in the States, and its anime adaptation is one of the most anticipated shows of the Summer 2016 season. Before the ...
review

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time BD+DVD

Beloved anime director Mamoru Hosoda's first original feature has a brand-new Blu-ray special edition, but how has the film held up over time? Nick Creamer takes a look back into the past to find out. ― Mamoru Hosoda, along with Makoto Shinkai, has the dubious honor of often being referred to as the “next Miyazaki.” There's no real meaning to this description, of course - it generally just means “an ...
review

Nisekoi: 2 Blu-Ray Part One

Nisekoi continues with an underachieving set of episodes that drive the series further into harem territory. Theron Martin explores what this sequel gets right. ― Nisekoi: is the 12 episode 2015 follow-up to 2014's Nisekoi, and familiarity with the predecessor series is expected. (The intervening OVAs, which are not available in English in any official form, are less important, since some of their ev...
game review

Review: Zero Time Dilemma

The latest installment in Kotaro Uchikoshi's ambitious story-driven series is a riveting sci-fi tale that takes no prisoners. ― Zero Time Dilemma is a game that almost didn't happen. Development was put on hiatus in 2012, citing poor sales of the Zero Escape series in Japan as the cause. The previous game, Virtue's Last Reward, ended on a tremendous cliffhanger that looked like it could be forever un...
review

Yona of the Dawn BD+DVD Part One

Yona of the Dawn sets a new high bar for eastern-themed fantasy shojo, but not without some hiccups along the way. Theron Martin takes a look at this adventure's highs and lows. ― Based on its first half, Yona of the Dawn may become the new standard-bearer for Eastern-themed shojo fantasy adventure. Despite some irksome quirks, its tale of a young heroine who must become empowered through hardship do...
review

Concrete Revolutio: The Last Song

In its final season, Concrete Revolutio fully embraces its fantastical storytelling and biting historical commentary to thunderous impact. Nick Creamer dives into this ambitious series. ― Concrete Revolutio's first season ended in fiery riots, as the student supporters of superhuman vigilantes demanded both greater government accountability and greater superhuman autonomy. But the house won that batt...
review

Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Sub.Blu-Ray Set 2

The second half of Saekano seeks to be a clever commentary on otakudom and almost succeeds, but it definitely gets bogged down by some of the very tropes it tries to lampoon. ― There are risks inherent to making an anime about the creation of another anime-like product. One of them is becoming too absorbed in the intricacies of the process, which Saekano manages to steer clear of. They are not so luc...
review

Psycho-Pass The Movie BD+DVD

Production I.G.'s hit franchise gets its first big screen adventure, with Gen Urobuchi back in the writer's seat. Jacob Chapman delves into the Blu-ray release to see what this movie has to offer returning fans. ― If you were hoping to see the Sibyl system shaken by the events of this theatrical Psycho-Pass adventure, you may want to curb your enthusiasm. Production I.G. clearly knows when they have ...
review

To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts GN 1

In this alternate-history take on the US Civil War, soldiers become legendary monsters to fight humanity's battles and find there's nowhere left for them to go after the war. Theron Martin analyzes this unusual story. ― Manga-ka duo Maybe has seen their first effort adapted into an anime licensed in English (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) and their second picked up by Crunchyroll Manga (Tales of Wedding Rin...
review

My Favorite Song - The Silver Siren

A girl is transported to a strange new world and becomes its most feared villain in this popular web novel. If you're ready for a more shoujo approach to light novel adventure, this is definitely worth checking out. ― While the increased interest in publishing light novels has been a boon for many readers, there's also been a definite trend towards picking up series aimed at a male demographic – many...
review

After War Gundam X Sub.DVD

In the latter half of this less-than-beloved Gundam entry, a surprising shift in pace takes the series to a new level. Lauren Orsini takes a look at what changed for After War Gundam X. ― Getting canceled just might be the best thing that could have happened to After War Gundam X, because the difference in entertainment quality between its first and second halves is like night and day. When the show ...
review

Belladonna of Sadness

After decades of being lost to obscurity, this highly controversial X-rated anime has been restored in high definition for a limited theatrical release. Gabriella Ekens takes a look at this long-lost cult classic. ― An X-rated anime classic newly remastered for the screen, Belladonna of Sadness is one of animation's premiere psychedelic experiences, brought over to North America for nearly the first ...
review

Shirobako Collection Two Blu-Ray

Shirobako returns for a second half that builds on the series’ core strengths to arrive at cathartic, inspiring truths about the search for meaning and career happiness. ― Shirobako's first half ended with Aoi Miyamori just barely saving the production of Exodus, thanks to a handy tip from none other than Hideaki Anno himself. Having clearly proven herself as one of the most competent and enthusiasti...
review

Black Butler: Book of Circus + Book of Murder BD+DVD

Black Butler's anime may never again be as visually arresting as it once was, but for fans still invested in the story of Ciel and his monstrous manservant, these releases can't be recommended enough. ― Eight years, three seasons, and a dozen OVAs into its run, Black Butler sports a franchise history more transparently twisted than most, coming off equal parts passion and pandering to its faithful fa...
review

A Silent Voice Vol. 7

In its seventh and final volume, a great manga comes to a somewhat unsteady conclusion. ― A Silent Voice reached its climax at the end of the fifth volume, as Shoya's efforts to “pay back” his bullying of Shoko were dramatically articulated through his almost trading her life for his own. The sixth volume nearly put the story's active drama on pause - taking the form of something like Neon Genesis Ev...
review

When They Cry: Kai Blu-Ray

The second season of When They Cry finally sees the light of day! It tones down the source material just a bit, but overall was worth the wait, even without a dub. ― Spoiler Warning! If you don't know who is behind everything and don't want to find out, you may want to skip this review. I've tried to minimize spoilers, but… It has been a long time coming, but finally the second season of When They Cr...
review

Masamune-kun's Revenge GN 1

The bullied kid returns to school as Mr. Hot and Popular with one goal: to get revenge on the girl who crushed his soul. ― Few things are as painful as being picked on in school. As an elementary school student, Masamune, who then went by the family name Hayase, was the perfect victim: he came from a prestigious, wealthy family and he was, shall we say, rotund. He muddled through, however, until one ...
review

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation Sub.DVD

It's Zeta Gundam! In movie form! Now with awkwardly re-animated sequences that clash with the original 1980s footage! Lauren takes a strange trip through three very unique Gundam flicks. ― The story of Zeta Gundam is more than three decades old, and the Zeta Gundam compilation movies won't let you forget it. Watching 2005's Heirs to the Stars and Lovers and 2006's Love is the Pulse of the Stars is li...
review

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment GN 2 & 3

School Judgment never quite gets itself off the ground, though it sure does try. The third and final volume is by far the strongest, even as it is plagued by some recurring issues. ― Some series need a bit longer than others to get off the ground. Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment turns out to have been one of those, and while it never really “takes off,” so to speak, it does by its third and final volum...
review

UQ Holder! GN 6

UQ Holder finally adds some intimate human drama to its reliably epic battles in its sixth volume. ― The Academy City arc comes to an end in this volume, as Santa squares off against his long-time friend Sayoko in a battle with the fate of the world at stake. UQ Holder certainly doesn't hold back in illustrating the desperate terms of this battle; with Kirie's power to rewind truly unacceptable carna...
review

Overlord Novel 1

The skull-faced hero from 2015's popular fantasy series Overlord is back in the first volume of the light novel series the anime was based on. Theron Martin sees how it stacks up to the adaptation. ― The 13 episode Overlord anime series aired during the summer 2015 TV season, but first came this novel (the first of 10 to date) by author Kugane Maruyama. It was originally published online in 2010 and ...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ Blu-Ray

It's a direct sequel to Zeta Gundam, and it's hilarious! Lauren Orsini discovers the hidden pleasures of this otherwise somewhat confounding entry in the Gundam franchise. ― The first two Gundam shows were serious business. In Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, director Yoshiyuki Tomino wasn't afraid to kill off even beloved main characters to prove a point. So it must have been a major ...
review

Your Lie in April Vol. 2 Blu-Ray

The tragic conclusion of Your Lie in April is out on bluray now - Theron Martin takes the long view on a show that generated plenty of controversy as it aired. ― Let's cut to the chase: the second half of Your Lie in April is, at least in part, a tragedy, somewhat in the spirit (though definitely not the style) of major “tragic girl” tales like Air and Kanon. Enough hints were dropped about this dire...
review

Yamibo DVD

This 13-episode mind-bending series based on an adult visual novel is a true oddity in more than one way. ― This 13-episode series is a true oddity in more than one way. It originally aired in 2003 but then languished for 9½ years before finally being picked up by Media Blasters in 2013. They originally solicited the title for a late 2013 release, but the title then languished again with unspecified ...
review

Gakuen Alice DVD

Nozomi's re-release of this deceptively cute series from 2004-05 proves that Gakuen Alice is still a show worth watching. ― Outwardly adorable, Gakuen Alice, based on the manga of the same name by Tachibana Higuchi, is actually one of the darker children's anime to be released in English, even though the anime is a bit lighter than the original manga. The story is set in a special school, Alice Acade...
review

orange: The Complete Collection 2 GN 2

Orange's final volume brings things to a bittersweet but satisfying conclusion, but comes with a big trigger warning for suicide. Also included is an aggressively adorable five-chapter romance, Haruiro Astronaut. ― Manga, and fiction in general, is not always the best portrait of real life. It often hits upon truths, but ultimately people read fiction to escape, to live a fantasy for a while. Ichigo ...
review

Baccano! Novel 1

Years after the Baccano! anime found success with fans and critics alike, the first volume of the original novels has finally been published in English. Gabriella Ekens takes a look at how it holds up after all this time. ― The Baccano! series is already fairly well known amongst Western anime fans for its anime adaptation. Released in 2007, it led to a brief Ryohgo Narita fandom that followed into D...
review

After War Gundam X Sub.DVD

Gundam X has never been highly regarded, and yet it features a sentient dolphin. Lauren Orsini discovers what's holding this show back from true greatness. ― A full twenty years after its release in Japan, After War Gundam X has finally made it to English speaking audiences. This show came out in 1996, just a year after Gundam Wing, and has continued to live in its shadow. Gundam Wing was not only su...
review

Requiem of the Rose King (GN 4)

Aya Kanno's take on Richard III continues with more conflict for Richard as he struggles to decide whether it is better to have emotions or to simple strike them down as Warwick continues to take his role as "kingmaker" a little too seriously. ― There's always a question when reading historical fiction and something that says that it's “based on” previous well-known works: how close will the author s...
review

Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace Blu-Ray

This 2014 follow-up to the 2012 TV series retains the series' storytelling feel and features strong technical merits, but those expecting a continuation of established plot lines may be disappointed. ― Abyss of Hyperspace is the 2014 movie follow-up to the 2012 TV series, at least in the sense that it continues the timeline of the animated part of the franchise; its events are set during a break befo...
review

blanc et noir: Takeshi Obata Illustrations Artbook

Takeshi Obata's illustrations from 2001-2006 get the deluxe treatment in this gorgeous artbook. ― Even if you aren't a fan of the series he has illustrated, it is hard to deny that his artwork is impressive. Showing a firmer grasp of human anatomy than many other mainstream mangaka along with beautiful composition skills, Obata's artwork isn't just good manga art, it's good art. While I recognize tha...
review

A Silent Voice GN 6

A Silent Voice’s sixth volume is a structurally self-conscious expression of its greatest strength, the generous insights it provides into all of its characters’ secret lives. ― It's always an interesting experience when a new volume of A Silent Voice comes out. On the one hand, I immediately want to rush through it - the story is a masterpiece, after all. It has an intimacy of characterization that'...
review

The Birth of Kitaro GN

Drawn & Quarterly has curated previously unpublished stories from Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro manga for its original audience: kids. It's largely successful in this thrillingly gross and creepy volume. ― Before Natsume had his Book of Friends or Nate put on his Yokai Watch, there was Kitaro. Shigeru Mizuki's tales of the yokai boy have been popular since their publication in 1960, and technically even be...
review

The Heiress and the Chauffeur GN 1

This cute Taisho-set romance blends historical social expectations with a sweet romance devoid of creepy shoujo tropes. ― Despite a title that sounds like a Barbara Cartland novel, The Heiress and the Chauffeur's first volume is a cute Taisho-set tale of fairly basic shoujo proportions. The story follows seventeen-year-old Sayaka Yoshimura and her slightly older chauffeur, Shinobu Narutaki, as they n...
review

UQ Holder! GN 5

UQ Holder seems to be establishing a solid rhythm in its fifth volume, and finally coming into its own as reliable entertainment. ― It's been a rough ride, but it seems like UQ Holder is finally developing some consistency. With Fate having just barely fallen into Kirie's trap at the end of volume four, this volume opens with a climactic chapter of Fate and Evangeline throwing everything they have at...
review

Review: Rage of Bahamut: Genesis BD+DVD

One of the most critically acclaimed videogame adaptations ever, Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is out on bluray now. Theron Martin swashbuckles his way through the set. ― Now this is how you make a game adaptation! Specifically, Genesis is a companion piece to the app-based card battle game Rage of Bahamut, which at the height of its popularity had a worldwide English language user base in excess of three...
review

Review: Akame ga Kill Collection Two Blu-Ray

Akame ga Kill's second half winds up being kind of a letdown thanks to some mishandled story elements and a misbegotten romance - Rebecca Silverman takes a look. ― Akame ga Kill may have a bit too high an opinion of its ability to be symbolic. While it is true that the first half managed to slip in some philosophy about killing being bad no matter what its purpose and to juxtapose the happy family li...
review

The Seven Deadly Sins GN 14

Liones may be saved, but things are far from over as life starts to take a much darker turn for Meliodas and his merry band. If the Seven Deadly Sins are good guys, then what are the Ten Commandments likely to be...? ― Technically speaking, this volume of Nakaba Suzuki's semi-concealed Arthurian fantasy picks up where the first season of the anime ends – Hendrikson is defeated and life is starting to...
review

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 4

The fantasy novel series' first story arc comes to an end in the best-edited volume of the series yet. It answers a lot of questions while setting the story up for an interesting continuation. ― This volume essentially brings part one of The Rising of the Shield Hero novel series to a close, wrapping up the problems that have been plaguing Naofumi, the eponymous Shield Hero, since he was first summon...
review

I am a Hero [Omnibus] GN 1

A gross and fascinating look at what would happen if a zombie apocalypse hit a world where no one knew their zombie lore and was too wrapped up in the everyday to realize what was coming. ― What sets I am a Hero apart from all the other zombie manga and novels out there? I would say that it is the realism of it. Not realism as in the cause of the outbreak is particularly convincing or that the story ...
review

Mysterious Girlfriend X GN 1

Mysterious Girlfriend X is a surprisingly thoughtful reflection on teenage romance, using its weird premise as a clever metaphor for the perils of intimacy. ― I wouldn't blame anyone for being put off by the premise of Mysterious Girlfriend X. The idea almost invites revulsion - a boy and girl united by a spit-bond, where instead of kissing normally, the boy just slurps drool off her finger. When you...
review

Kamisama Kiss: Season 2 DVD

Kamisama Kiss' second season is just as delightful as the first, taking Nanami to meet the other gods in Izumo and delving deeper into both her past and Tomoe's. ― There is something delightful about Kamisama Kiss, no matter what form it takes. For fans of Julietta Suzuki's original manga, the anime is less like watching a new adaptation of the story and more like simply seeing the manga move and spe...
review

Review: My Hero Academia Vol. 4

My Hero Academia is in its element in a volume that mixes dramatic battles and strong character writing to stand at the peak of its genre. ― My Hero Academia's third volume was a bit of a lesser volume, focusing mostly on the cooldown period between two larger arcs. It was fun, but it was the manga leaning on its fundamental assets, and not truly demonstrating what it could really do. But that volume...
review

Maken-Ki! Two BD+DVD

The second series for this fan service fest is a slight improvement over the first, but that isn't saying much. ― Heavy fan service shows may have gotten more sophisticated in their characterizations and storytelling over the past few years, but that is only on the average. The classic big, dumb booby show still pops up on a regular basis because they still sell well enough on both sides of the Pacif...
review

The Other Side of Secret GN 1

Blending fanservice with an interesting plot, The Other Side of Secret's first volume shows some potential even as it spends most of its time setting up. ― Don't let the boobs on the cover turn you off – underneath the fanservice element (which will be an added appeal for some readers) is an interesting story about mysterious doors and dark otherworlds. While I wouldn't call this a tame book (althoug...
review

Sword Art Online Novel 7

Theron's favorite part of Sword Art Online shows up in its original light novel form, and he finds the experience a little diminished from its anime adaptation. ― The seventh novel in the core SAO storyline corresponds to episodes 18-24 of Sword Art Online II, which in my evaluation is the best SAO story arc released in the U.S. to date. I expounded on the merits of its storytelling in great detail i...
review

Review: Harmony

After the flawed but entertaining Empire of Corpses, the second film in the Project Itoh series is a pretty serious letdown. Nick Creamer does the postmortem. ― The first film in the Project Itoh series, The Empire of Corpses, was a fairly well-composed adventure romp. Its attempts to use zombies to speak to the nature of the human soul were somewhat half-baked, but those issues couldn't prevent it f...
review

Spice & Wolf Novel 17

One of the most unusual and mature fantasy franchises to come out of Japan comes to a conclusion with this epilogue and accompanying short stories. Theron reminisces. ― For those who might be contemplating skipping ahead to this novel to see how the story ends, much of what happens in “Conclusion,” the main part of this novel, will not make a whole lot of sense unless you have, at the least, read bot...
review

Review: Garo The Animation BD+DVD

Garo the Animation is an archetypal but thrilling and often beautiful adventure. ― Garo: The Animation is an interesting property in a variety of ways. For one, it's an “adaptation” of a very established tokusatsu series - but instead of mirroring the modern format of its parent series, it's actually a period drama riffing on a fantasy version of the Spanish Inquisition. Its head writer Yasuko Kobaya...
review

Earl and Fairy Sub.DVD

Discotek's release of this 2008 shoujo series has an appealing blend of historical romance and British folklore, plus it covers different material from the original light novels than the previously released manga. It looks a little dated, but the story definitely holds up. ― Based on the light novels of the same name by Mizue Tani, Earl and Fairy is a combination of cute, romantic, and dangerous. Set...
review

Fairy Tail GN 53

The Alvarez Arc officially begins as Fairy Tail learns the secrets of its past. There may be more set up than action, but this is still a compulsively readable volume as Mashima plays with some old folkloric ideas. ― Spoiler Warning for Fairy Tail Zero True Love: for thousands of years of folklore, it has been upheld as the ultimate power, and even in today's fiction it occupies a mythic place in ter...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Novel 5

Danmachi's fifth volume takes us deeper into the Dungeon than ever before as Bell finds himself out of his depth and Hestia breaks a major rule to find him. ― What is it that keeps Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon's Bell Cranell from being an obnoxiously overpowered hero? He certainly has many of the traits of those Gary Stu like figures from other series: insane luck, amazing abiliti...
review

Monster Musume: I ♥ Monster Girls GN 1

It's a licensed collection of doujinshi about Okayado's Monster Musume! It's an odd release, but for fans of the original, there are definitely stories to enjoy. ― I'll admit that it's a bit of an oddity – Okayado's harem comedy Monster Musume is already rife with fanservice and largely functions as a slice-of-life story about everyman Kimihito's forced coexistence with a variety of hot monster girl ...
review

Review: Doukyusei -Classmates-

This ethereal boys-love film, appearing in a limited theatrical engagement beginning May 6th, dives right into the love confessions and intimacy and never turns back. ― When I first heard Aniplex was going to start screening a critically and financially successful boys' love movie produced by A-1 Pictures in theaters, I was pretty puzzled. Boys' love, shonen-ai, yaoi, however you want to slice it, is...
review

Fairy Tail BD+DVD Part 19

The Eclipse Spirits arc remains lackluster in its finale, but the rest of the filler episodes on these discs are pretty funny as Fairy Tail indulges in some lighter fare before things get serious next set. ― It's the little moments that make this set of episodes, which finishes up the Eclipse Spirits storyline and then embarks on a series of one-off episodes (plus a two episode mini-arc), none of whi...
review

Date A Live II BD+DVD

Despite some frustrating aspects, this second series is, overall, a slight improvement on the first. ― With nine months in between its first and second parts, Date A Live II is more a second series than a second season. Either way you look at it, it is still a direct continuation, one which assumes intimate familiarity with earlier material and provides recap only in bits and pieces. Hence I do recom...
review

The Gods Lie GN

The Gods Lie is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about two children finding solace in each other told in a quiet, understated style that tugs gently at your heartstrings without going overboard. ― There are many different kinds of lies: small ones, harmful ones, and, most insidious, the ones you desperately want to believe. There comes a point during growing up when you begin to understand that last...
review

Idol Dreams GN 2

The second volume of Arina Tanemura's magical woman story brings us into the past and mind of the series' de-facto mascot character, Tokita, as she continues to play with the magical girl genre. ― Why is Tokita helping Chikage to relive her adolescence? Volume one of Arina Tanemura's magical woman story implies that it's just because she was his first love back in the 9th grade, but is that really en...
review

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Part 2 GN 3

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is just as insane as ever with its overpowered fights and insane anatomy. This volume adds some emotional heft to the story as well, forcing Jojo himself to do some growing up. ― Are you excited for more Jojo after the cliffhanger of volume two?! Hirohiko Araki sure is! He wants you to know that every sentence is important, too, or that nearly every word spoken in Battle Tend...
review

Review: Love Live! School Idol Project Season 2 Blu-Ray

Love Live returns for a second season marked by the same plentiful strengths and frustrating weaknesses as the first. ― Love Live! is back! Having saved their school and stopped Kotori from traveling overseas last season, things have finally settled down for Honoka and the others. But of course, it wouldn't be a school idol show without dramatic conflict, so the team is swiftly thrust into preparatio...
review

Durarara!! Novels 1-3

The first three light novels in the Durarara!! saga are out in English, so Gabriella Ekens plunges in to see just how the novels stack up to the anime thus far. ― If you've been an anime fan for any amount of time, you're most likely already familiar with Durarara!!. First airing in 2009, it's about supernatural (and just plain weird) events going down in Ikebukuro, one of Tokyo's busiest districts. ...
review

No-Rin BD+DVD

Though it doesn't quite amount to much more than a fleeting good time, there's plenty of fanservice and a few decent jokes in this raunchy comedy. ― The basic premise – a city-bred idol retires to the country, where she gets indoctrinated into the ways of agriculture – seems ripe for all manner of “fish out of water” situations, and to an extent this 12 episode series from 2014 does use that approach...
review

Gundam Evolve

This collection of shorts from across the Gundam Universe features the return of Heero Yuy (for a few moments, anyway), but struggles to be anything more than a curiosity. Lauren Orsini straps in. ― Right now, Gundam is booming overseas and parent company Sunrise has taken note. In the second half of 2015, the company partnered with anime retailer Right Stuf to re-release six series from the classic ...
review

Real Account GN 1

Don't write this one off just because you're sick of "trapped in a game" stories - Real Account has some tricks up its sleeve that make it worth checking out. ― There comes a point in a genre when many consumers say “enough.” For the trapped-in-a-game genre, which is relatively young as these things go, that moment has been creeping up for many people, which may discourage them from picking up Okusho...

For all articles, see the archives