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"There are still plenty of Muppet-y faces and humorous moments scattered throughout, but the show's general mood has grown more introspective with each new episode."
"Episode 3 of the Despair Arc is finally getting into the spirit of true despair, but what it doesn't show is just as interesting as what it does."
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...
"This is the crowning achievement for all the absolute trust and understanding that we've seen between this main pair so far."
ANN reviewer Sam Leach joins Zac and Jacob on a blood-soaked journey through the first few episodes of Berserk, along with Danganronpa discussion and much more! ― ANNCast Episode 266: Berserk du Soleil ANN reviewer Sam Leach joins Zac and Jacob on a blood-soaked journey through the first few episodes of Berserk, along with Danganronpa discussion and much more! You can listen to the show on our playe...
"Battery the Animation has slowed its pace a bit. Considering that the show was pretty chill to begin with, the result is some real low-energy entertainment."
Now that streaming has liberated programming from broadcast runtime standards, will anime production change too? Justin gets into it. ― Terry asks: I watched some House of Cards awhile ago, and I noticed the episodes were about 50 minutes each. I know no made-for-TV shows are 50 minutes, because of the commercial breaks. It got me thinking of the rise of streaming services and their in-house product...
"This Art Club Has a Problem! seems to have settled into a comfortable pattern of three themed segments."
"Taken on its own, this week's episode is sure to delight fans of Naruto's increasingly scarce lighter side."
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...
"This was another solid episode of Planetarian, its thematic bite only somewhat softened by the show's consistently mediocre visual execution."
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...
"Production values and visual direction continue to suffer in this episode, but the characters' growing trust and closeness adds depth to the show."
Every month we see anime and manga sales charts from Japan, but there's no equivalent in the US - how come we never see sales info anywhere else? Justin gets into it. ― "Oshino Hunter" asks: In Japan exact sales numbers are given for all anime and manga, but in America, we get NO stats on anime sales, and only what has sold better than others for manga. Why is this? Even in Japan, publishers do not ...
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...
"With no class trial system to give new deaths context, we'll have to log each one away as just another clue in a much longer game."
"This week, Taboo Tattoo tries to be an action series, a horror series, a comedy, a drama, and a romance all at once, and the result is honestly kind of a mess."
"While episode 4 still has its share of tender moments, it contains quite a bit more comedy than its predecessors."
Vice and Luna's lunchtime odyssey continues when Luna makes a small mistake that winds up changing their entire afternoon... and Luna's love life! ―
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 ...
"Some formulaic but effective humor, a bit of character development, and a couple moments of fanservice just to make sure the audience is still paying attention."
"Where episodes 1-3 covered an average of 6.3 manga chapters per episode, we're down to 4 chapters this week, resulting in enough time to let the nicely crafted symmetries sink in."
"This episode was a cutting exploration of peer pressure and adolescent anxiety that did tremendous work in further establishing Mob as an excellent protagonist."
"It's good to see The Morose Mononokean proving it's more than a one-trick pony."
"If Tales of Zestiria the X hadn't hooked you fully before, this is the episode that cements it as a fantasy worth paying attention to."
Funimation's recent release of Psycho-Pass: The Movie came with a code for a digital version of the film; why don't more anime releases do that? Justin gets into it. ― Joe asks: I recently got the Psycho-Pass Movie on Blu-Ray and instantly noticed something strange on the box - it came with a digital copy of the movie. I've been getting digital copies with most Blu-Rays of Hollywood movies and even ...
Paul takes on a blast from anime sci fi past with veteran anime director Ryosuke Takahashi's Gasaraki series. Plus, all this week's new releases! ― I've been too busy working this month to give Pokemon Go a try, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, I've avoided the temptation to start a game that would undoubtedly devour my time like a swarm of starving termites. On t...
"The Heroic Legend of Arslan improved this week by indulging in a rare fun detour."
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...
"Danganronpa always likes to prove that you can even pick the lowest-hanging fruit in a creative way."
"As much as I love what the series has been doing lately, it's about time for Subaru to catch a break."
"While Naho passes her days in an insecure daydream, her potential high school life is passing her by."
With the release of the newest film in the Project Itoh series, Mike takes a look back at the history of other anime anthologies from the Animatrix to Gotham Knight. ― While I sat there trying to digest the second installment of the Project Itoh film series, Studio 4°C's Harmony (note: it didn't sit well), I kept remembering a conversation I'd had with its director, Michael Arias, way back when he wa...
"This story does a better job than most of portraying a world where everyone actually is against the main character, at least at first."
"The transition to stories focusing on each individual girl has begun, and Shizuru is up first."
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...
"Its production values may be less than exciting, but D3 starts off just as engrossing as its predecessors, at a much faster pace."
"It's a delicate balance between using μ's as a source of inspiration versus just a narrative crutch, and we can't be entirely surprised that Sunshine!! is having a hard time letting go of its safety net."
"Subaru's culinary style is hardly the kind of cooking most of the Totsuki students are here for."
"At this point, Handa-kun seems to have found a good balance of personalities within its main cast."
"This is a modest episode, but the show is clearly gearing up for something very significant on the horizon."
"Thunderbolt Fantasy continues to be an exquisitely executed pile of clichés."
As the scorching summer heat reaches its peak outside, you can crank the A/C and enjoy this Classic edition of The List instead, with seven beach episodes that won't leave you feeling high and dry. ― We're reaching the peak of the summer heat, so it's time to keep it cool with a Classic List installment from yester-year. Take it away, past-Lynzee! Beach, pool, and hot springs episodes usually operat...
"After an emotionally resonant first half, the latter part of episode 3 is almost like an instructional video for first-time divers, with humorous commentary courtesy of Pikari."
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...
Say like you want to move to Japan to wallow around in awesome anime and manga swag all day, but can't afford it - is California the next best thing? ― James asks: I've noticed that the state of California has a lot of Anime Stores and other shops (like Little Tokyo) for Anime. Would California be the ideal place to live in and have access to acquiring physical Anime, Manga, and other related mercha...
The action blockbuster Blue Exorcist is back with a brand-new anime in 2017 - we sat down with the original creator of the Blue Exorcist manga to explore her incredible success (and dig up details on the new anime!) ― Kazue Kato, the creator of Blue Exorcist made her N. American comic/anime convention debut appearance at Anime Expo 2016 in Los Angeles on July 4th weekend. She came to meet fans and to...
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...
"Slowly, Takumi is opening himself up to truly enjoying his calling as an athlete."
"None of the storylines within the episode are laugh-out-loud funny, but they are worth a chuckle, which nicely layers over the sweeter aspects of the show."
"Overall, Planetarian continues to tell a small but poignant story with understated grace."
"This week's Naruto Shippūden brings Ashura and Indra's story to a satisfying (albeit rushed) conclusion."
This week: Todd looks at Square Enix’s throwback RPG! Plus Gravity Rush 2, Nintendo classics, and a major announcement! ― I'll start this column with some very important news: The X Button is retiring. If all goes as planned, the final installment will go up next Thursday, July 28. I must preemptively fend off rumors that the column's being shuttered because of my controversial stand on the Breath o...
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, ...
"This week, TSE shines the spotlight on Ryogo once again and tries to course-correct its lackluster character and worldbuilding. For the most part, it does a pretty good job."
"The storytelling of Cheer Boys!!, complete with satisfying character development and a well-paced plot, is the heart of the show."
In an age when almost every anime series gets licensed, how and why exactly do some shows still fall between the cracks? Justin breaks it down. ― Imogen asks: With the recent news article about Sentai dubbing Amagi Brilliant Park I was curious to know if there's a reason why one of Kyoto Animation's other works 'Hyouka' hasn't had any distribution beyond Japan when all of their other shows have? Is ...
Lauren Orsini lists the Gundam pilots whose decision-making skills and emotional fortitude she can relate to the most - while exploring how your favorite Gundam pilots can say a lot about you and the Gundam series you respond to most. ― Gundam has given us a lot of main characters who are strong, capable, and smart. But how many of them can you actually relate to? Since Mobile Suit Gundam first aired...
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 ...
"It's not mind blowing or anything, but considering how benign and underwhelming the last three episodes have been, this Silver Mine Arc finale manages to offer some interesting things to talk about."
"This should be an encouraging sign for anyone who came into New Game hoping that the show would include some musings on the creative process."
"Mob Psycho 100 brings Mob and Reigen's feelings to life through dynamic layouts elevating crass, funny, and occasionally heartfelt material."
The president of the studio behind classics like Fullmetal Alchemist and recent smash hits My Hero Academia and this season's Mob Psycho 100 speaks his mind on the state of the industry and his studio's incredible output! ― Masahiko Minami is a co-founder and the president of BONES, the studio behind world-class anime classics like Fullmetal Alchemist, Eureka Seven, and most recently, the internation...
Naming your brand-new pet can be a pretty difficult task, but nobody's up to the job like Blume! ― Art: Lanny Liu Script: Zac Bertschy Editor: Jacob Chapman
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...
"This story of an unconventional family brought together by cooking hits all the right emotional notes without veering into “overly sappy” territory."
"Hallow will have to fit the content of at least 40 manga chapters into 13 episodes. Saying this is going to be a challenge is putting it mildly."
"Based on these first few episodes, Taboo Tattoo wants little more than to be a perfectly functional, by-the-numbers shonen action series."
"All in all, this is a slightly slow but still interesting start to what looks to be an epic fantasy adventure."
"Manages to find the perfect sweet spot between comedy and healing anime, so it feels like something new despite being made of the sum of many derivative parts."
"Whether it's production problems or sloppy character writing and plotting, The Heroic Legend of Arslan doesn't get the tender loving care it deserves."
There's a common - and very old - joke in anime and manga where a female character will remark "now I'll never get married!". Justin explains exactly how old that joke really is. ― Juan asks: When it comes to anime jokes and phrases the one I that has intrigued me is the the situation were a girl has been seen naked by a guy and says the line "Now I can't get married.". I've been wondering were does...
"It's the story of an underdog, and everyone loves an underdog. Tsukushi might never amount to a soccer champ, but he wins everyone over one at a time."
Does Sekirei have enough bounce per ounce to be worth your time? Paul Jensen has the answers, plus all this week's new releases! ― I'm not sure what kind of licensing deal led to every episode of ReLIFE being available at once, but it's kind of convenient. By the time I finish watching it, I should have a backlog of at least a couple episodes to binge through on all the other shows I'm following thi...
"Too often in stories like this, the protagonists can get away with a lot simply because they're the protagonists, but Re:Zero isn't cutting Subaru any slack."
"So far, Orange is offering a rich bounty of endearing character moments while consistently hinting at poignant and universal themes about growing up and looking back on our past selves."
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...
Lauren closes out her coverage of the Ace Attorney anime with a sum-up of how this low-quality production failed to deliver on the promise of its original material.
"Miura's compelling story and captivating world still shine as one-of-a-kind flights of dark imagination with poignant characterization, even as they struggle under such a lackluster production."
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...
"At this point, the series is throwing out just enough hooks and effective humor to sustain interest, though it still suffers from an uninspired feel."
"With a soundtrack worthy of the original and improved dance animation, this new Love Live! creates an atmosphere where it's easy to get pulled into the communal dream of seeing the girls shine."
"A camp action fest that combines stunning practical effects with modern film techniques into a whirlwind of operatic artistry."
"Food Wars! The Second Plate is off to a mildly shaky start in terms of giving everyone their due, but it can still really play with your emotions while making you awfully hungry."
"These first two episodes amount to a pretty great first 20 minutes of a gangster movie."
"We don't see Jotaro and Josuke problem-solving together often, but it seems like a natural fit."
Pokemon Go showed us that the experience of catching monsters in the real world can be magical, but these ten terrors are a healthy reminder that some Pokemon dreams shouldn't come true. ― One week after the release of Pokemon Go, I think it's safe to say we're all living in a Pokemon world. Everyone's walking around town trying to complete their Pokedex now, from your littlest cousin to your great-...
"It's a big departure from Barakamon, but there's no reason Handa-kun can't stand perfectly well on its own."
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...
"Conventional but well-executed artistry combines with uneven but full-of-potential storytelling to make a series with promising prospects going forward."
"Like the various incarnations of Tamayura and ARIA, Amanchu! manages to maintain a relaxed pace and all-around soothing atmosphere without ever feeling padded, drawn-out, or just plain boring."
"Out of all the fujoshi sports shows we're getting this season, Battery looks like both the chilliest and most appropriate for younger audiences."
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