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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...
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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...
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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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Ninja Slayer From Animation BD+DVD

YEEEART! Ninja Slayer has come swooping onto Blu-ray, but does this "so bad it's good" comedy play out as well as Studio Trigger intended? Nick Creamer finds out. ― To find Ninja Slayer's stylistic progenitors, it's best to look outside of anime altogether, not to film or literature, but to another proud legacy of cheaply constructed comedy television - Adult Swim. With its unmoving cutout characters...
game review

Review: NieR: Automata

Androids battle alien machines for control of Earth in a boldly strange action game that loves to mess with your head. Todd Ciolek has the details. ― It's important to know that NieR: Automata does not hate you, the player. NieR: Automata very easily could, after all. Yoko Taro's Drakengard titles are vicious creations, and Drakengard 3 remains a fascinatingly savage mockery of violent games and play...
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Shomin Sample BD+DVD

This forgotten harem series from 2015 gets off to a rough start right out of the gate, but does it build into anything worthwhile? Theron Martin takes a closer look. ― Contending with dumb premises goes hand-in-hand with being an anime fan, but the concept behind this light novel adaptation from 2015 (whose title has mercifully been shortened from I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Samp...
review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Limited Edition Part 2

Originally adapted as "Sailor Moon R", these episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal cover a seriously beloved storyline. Rebecca Silverman finds out if they do it justice. ― As the adaptation of the original manga's second story arc, known in the original anime as Sailor Moon R and in the manga as the Black Moon arc, Sailor Moon Crystal's second set of episodes introduces not only new villains, but a new Sa...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket DVD

This 10th anniversary Gundam OVA is the first project not written by Tomino, but it's a fan favorite for a reason. Lauren Orsini explains what makes these six episodes so special. ― Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket was the first Gundam story not to be written or directed by Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino. Instead, this OVA was penned by Hiroyuki Yamaga, a founding member of Studio Gainax, ...
review

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Sword Oratoria Novel 2

This spinoff novel just might be required reading for DanMachi fans, as it reveals new secrets about the main series' story. Theron Martin breaks down the details. ― I called the first Sword Oratoria spin-off novel “highly recommended reading for any fan of the franchise”, but this one jumps up to mandatory reading by adding so many extra details and clarifications to both the franchise at large and ...
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Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale

Sword Art Online jumps from the small screen to the big screen and in the meantime swaps out virtual reality for augmented reality. Theron Martin lets us know how it all turned out. ― Unlike previous animation for the franchise, Ordinal Scale is not even partially based on the source novels by Reki Kawahara. It is, instead, an original work penned by Kawahara specifically for this movie. As a result,...
review

Digimon Adventure tri. Episodes 14-17 Streaming

After months of speculation, the fourth installment of Digimon Tri finally reveals all the story's biggest secrets, but are these answers worth the wait? Jacob Chapman finds out. ― This may not be as fascinating to the average Digimon fan as it was to me, but in all of Tri. - Sōshitsu's baffling and disappointing glory, it just so happened to exemplify the crucial difference between "plot" and "story...
review

Cyborg 009 Call of Justice

Netflix's new CG version of this long-enduring franchise is fully accessible to newcomers, though the CG's visual style may not work for everyone. ― Cyborg 009 is one the most enduring of all modern Japanese entertainment franchises, with its original manga dating to 1964 and a number of anime and game productions scattered over the more than half-century since that time. The most recent effort, 2016...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack Blu-Ray

One of the most memorable classics in Tomino's Universal Century canon has finally come to Blu-ray, and Lauren Orsini is ready to strap in and see how it holds up in high definition. ― This movie is the culmination of the 14-year-old rivalry between Char Aznable and Amuro Ray, but it may be difficult to stay focused on this point, seeing as much of this movie is told from the perspective of a charact...
review

Review: Magic Knight Rayearth Blu-Ray

The mid-90s classic comes to Blu-ray for the first time, but has this wild genre mashup held up after 20 years of other shojo fantasy adventures have come and gone? Theron Martin has the answers. ― Ready for your next big '90s nostalgia burst? While calling this one of the classic titles of the '90s might be debatable, Magic Knight Rayearth was definitely among the more prominent titles in the Americ...
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My Little Sister Can Read Kanji Novel 1

This odd sci fi parody of light novel tropes might be too crass for some readers, but there's definitely some laughs to be had for big fans of the genre. Rebecca Silverman investigates. ― The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms defines “parody” as a mocking imitation of the style of a literary work, noting that it is related to burlesque in its use of serious language for ridiculous subjects ...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam F91

This unloved stepchild of the UC timeline bears some striking similarities to Star Wars along with Gundam series of the past, but is it worth a look after all these years? Lauren Orsini investigates. ― Mobile Suit Gundam F91 has a runtime of about 115 minutes, but a mere two hours wasn't always the story's intention. In fact, Mobile Suit Gundam F91 was initially meant to be a 52-episode series. React...
review

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess GN 1

Twilight Princess' first volume works both as a stand-alone fantasy for non-gamers and as an expansion of the story for those who have played the game. ― Gamers will already be familiar with the basics of this latest manga adventure of Link. Based on the 2006 adventure game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is spun off from an alternate path of the earlier game Wind Waker, and stars a darker, o...
review

Garo Season Two: Crimson Moon BD+DVD

This spiritual followup to Garo The Animation has a rocky reputation to say the least, but is there anything worth watching in this compromised production? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― Garo: Crimson Moon is the second anime adventure revolving around a tokusatsu suit of golden armor that might best be compared to the recurring Italian cinema character of Maciste, a hero who simply appears randomly ...
review

Wolf's Rain BD+DVD

After well over a decade out of the limelight, does this notoriously ambitious fantasy classic still have some bite in it? Jacob Chapman weighs in on this critical darling from 2003. ― As Wolf's Rain finally arrives on Blu-ray at the respectable age of 14 (surviving a decade in anime fan memory is no small feat!), the series may stand out for a reputation that can only be called "emotionally paradoxi...
review

Rurouni Kenshin Part III: The Legend Ends BD+DVD

The final Kenshin film finds success in its terrific action, even if the trilogy is starting to look a little long in the tooth. ― Film trilogies are a tricky thing. It's relatively easy to make a single film with a coherent story - when a single work both introduces and concludes all of a story's narrative variables, you can create a sense of tight congruity throughout. But when a story is split acr...
review

GANTZ:O

There may not be much to the story, but the sharp CG more than makes the experience in this Gantz splatterfest. Theron Martin digs deeper. ― The Gantz franchise has gone through three iterations over the past 17 years: manga, anime series, and a pair of live-action movies. Now its fourth version comes in a 3D CG movie from 2016, which has recently become available on Netflix. But this isn't any garde...
review

My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World Novel 1

This wide-ranging parody of chuunibyou tropes pushes the envelope in some eyebrow-raising ways, but it's still bound to offer otaku fans a fun read. ― Whether you have a weird sibling or are the weird sibling, families often have dynamics that can feel odd to an outside perspective. In the case of Yuichi Sakaki's family in My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World, his older sister Mutsuko suffers from ...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 5

Both the visual ambition and depth of story in the Ancient Magus's Bride take a leap forward in this memorable volume. ― The Ancient Magus' Bride's recent volumes have been reasonably focused affairs, prioritizing Chise and Elias' collective character development over the whimsical vignettes of the manga's early chapters. This fifth volume marks a return to episodic storytelling, as the leannan sidhe...
review

The Great Passage Episodes 1-11 Streaming

After lingering in licensing limbo for many months, The Great Passage is finally available streaming! Gabriella Ekens explores whether this uniquely low-key drama is worth watching. ― Before it fell victim to the Amazon anime hostage crisis of Fall 2016, The Great Passage was one of my most anticipated shows of that season. Based on an acclaimed novel, airing in the celebrated Noitamina programming b...
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Interviews With Monster Girls GN 1 & 2

Interviews With Monster Girls is more charming than not, even as its harem elements trip it up on occasion. ― There's almost no way to phrase the premise of this series without it sounding creepy. High school biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi has always been fascinated by the human variations straight out of mythology known as demi-humans, but he had to give up writing his thesis on them in university...
review

Sword of the Stranger BD+DVD

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

Review: Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

Berserk: Band of the Hawk lets you slaughter your way through Guts' most traumatic adventures in classic Musou style - but it isn't without its problems. ― By now, the formula for Omega Force's increasingly prolific line of Musou anime adaptions has proven to be a mostly winning one. Take the basic Dynasty Warriors gameplay, replace Chinese historical figures with an array of fan-favorite characters,...
review

Seven Deadly Sins -Signs of Holy War-

This four-episode "second season" of Seven Deadly Sins popped up on Netflix - how does it move the story forward, and is it any good? Theron Martin investigates. ― Although this is (correctly) labeled as a TV series, that label can be misleading in this case, as it implies that it consists of more than just four episodes. That is clearly all that it was planned for, however, so what Netflix is listin...
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The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 4

The Ancient Magus’ Bride continues to find wonder in both its central romance and its magical world. Nick Creamer digs into the details. ― While Ancient Magus' Bride's first and second volumes focused primarily on the magical world surrounding Chise and Elias, the manga's third volume turned inward, highlighting the emotional baggage that inspires both of their actions. This fourth volume essentially...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt GN 1

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

God Eater Blu-Ray 2

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

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

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

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse Novel 1

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

Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas movie 2

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

Mobile Suit V Gundam Blu-Ray 2

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

Attack on Titan: End of the World Novel

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

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

Tiger Mask W Episodes 1-13 Streaming

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

Bungo Stray Dogs GN 1

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

Mikagura School Suite BD+DVD

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

ERASED Blu-Ray 2

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

Mobile Suit Victory Gundam Sub. Blu-Ray part 1

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

Welcome to the Ballroom GN 1 & 2

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

Long Riders! Episodes 1-10 Streaming

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

Ajin season 2

In Ajin's second season, the tension thickens as villains rise to power and all hell breaks loose. Theron Martin compares this second half to where the series started. ― After taking the summer 2016 season off, Ajin returned in the fall for another 13 episodes, which are now available in subbed and dubbed form exclusively on Netflix, continuously numbered from 14 on rather than numbered as a separate...
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Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid GN 2

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

Izetta: The Last Witch Episodes 1-12 Streaming

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

Review: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

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

Magic of Stella Episodes 1-12 Streaming

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

Review: Tales of Berseria

The latest Tales game goes darker than ever before, but does that make it better? Todd Ciolek cracks into the first big RPG of 2017! ― Tales games are struggles, and they're not just between a world-saving cadre of misfits and some ruthless villain or eldritch power. They're clashes of quality. On one side, you'll find entertaining characters and hectic, enjoyable battle systems. On the other, you'll...
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Kindred Spirits On The Roof GN 1-2

Based on an adult yuri visual novel, Kindred Spirits on the Roof relies too much on readers having played the game to be truly enjoyable. ― Kindred Spirits on the Roof is based on the yuri visual novel of the same name, and if you aren't familiar with it, there's a good chance that the book won't hold a whole lot of appeal. This isn't because the two stories told within the volume aren't cute and swe...
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The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún GN 1

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

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

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

Owarimonogatari Sub.Blu-Ray 2

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

Review: The Vision Of Escaflowne BD+DVD

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

Ange Vierge Episodes 1-12 Streaming

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

Review: Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen Blu-Ray

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

Charlotte Blu-Ray 2

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

Qualidea Code Episodes 1-12 Streaming

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

Big Order GN 1

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

Aoharu x Machinegun GNs 1-2

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

Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas - Movie 1

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

Sailor Moon R The Movie

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

BBK/BRNK: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy

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

Seiyu's Life! Sub.DVD

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

Show By Rock!!# Episodes 1-12 Streaming

In its second season, Sanrio's magical, musical adventure changes its format up despite recycling some of the first season's story. Is it an improvement or a step in the wrong direction? ― The first season of Show By Rock!! charmed audiences with an electric color scheme, anthropomorphic animal character designs, and toe-tapping musical numbers. Based on a rhythm phone game, it fleshed out this music...
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Time Travel Girl Episodes 1-12 Streaming

High school student Mari Hayase embarks on a time traveling adventure in search of her missing father, meeting famous inventors along the way. ― Time Travel Girl manages to make a not-incredibly-original premise into an enjoyable enough affair on the strength of its characters and the humanistic look at some of history's greatest achievers. The show requires the audience to overlook some necessarily ...
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The Ghost and the Lady [Hardcover] GN 2

This otherworldly take on the story of Florence Nightingale continues with more of its gorgeous art and ghostly twists on historical fiction. ― The narrator of Kazuhiro Fujita's The Ghost and the Lady, the famed Man in Grey who is said to haunt the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane, has never been shy about telling us that the story he is telling is a tragedy. And how could it be anything else? At the end ...
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The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Novel 6

Things have slowed down for these unusual MgRonald's employees since the last catastrophe, but there are still a few divine mysteries to resolve before Satan can let his guard down again. ― They say that it's best not to meet your heroes. There's definitely some truth to that, because once you do, you're forced to realize that they're just people like the rest of us, prone to faults, failings, and be...
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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Novel 7

This seventh volume makes it easy to see that the anime adaptation ended before the best parts of its story really began. Rebecca Silverman explores further. ― After reading this seventh novel of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon, it's easy to conclude that the anime ended before the best parts of the story really began. This second story to take place after the end of the animated ada...
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My Monster Secret GN 3

My Monster Secret settles into a comfortable rhythm in its third volume as Asahi's accidental harem gathers together for some summertime shenanigans. ― The idea that harem comedies “don't go anywhere” is a pretty common and understandable complaint. Manga in the genre often hang on a central “will they or won't they” question, but their chapters proceed as a series of moments where characters walk up...
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Flip Flappers Episodes 1-13 Streaming

Artistically daring and narratively complex, Flip Flappers is an anime like no other. Nick Creamer dives into its world of Pure Illusion. ― The anime industry isn't generally structured to reward anime-original passion projects. The current funding model relies heavily on production committees that generally bank on “media mix” dividends - anime are funded because they'll sell source material, music ...
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Magic-kyun! Renaissance Episodes 1-12 Streaming

This idol-flavored reverse harem is just unique enough to stand out from the crowd, if you're looking for a supremely sparkly good time. Rebecca Silverman explains why. ― If there were an award for the sparkliest anime of Fall 2016, Magic-kyun Renaissance would be one of the top contenders. As part of a multimedia franchise that includes an otome game and a manga series, the story not only actively b...
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Miss Bernard said. Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Bookworms should find a lot to love about this short gag series starring a goofball who wants to be well-read without actually cracking open a book. Rose Bridges digs in. ― Miss Bernard Said., like many three-minute gag comedies, is highly specific in its content and appeal. It's worth stating this right out of the gate; this is a show for people who love books and consider themselves big readers. If...
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Sword Art Online Novel 9

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

Is this fanservice-fueled parody of fantasy RPGs worth watching? Theron Martin has the answers. ― Anime short series don't earn English dubs or even home video releases often, unless they're associated with an established franchise. (See The Adventures of Mini-Goddess or The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya.) So Funimation's decision to both dub and release this series of shorts from the Summer 201...
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Utano☆Princesama Legend Star Episodes 1-12 Streaming

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

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

Kyoto Inferno is a rambling but ultimately satisfying middle chapter in Kenshin’s live-action trilogy saga. Nick Creamer dives in. ― The first live-action Rurouni Kenshin accomplished a seemingly impossible feat, by translating a beloved but long-running shounen manga into a crisply paced and dramatically satisfying action movie, offering a satisfying experience for both existing Kenshin fans and new...
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JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Episodes 1-39 Streaming

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

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

Sanrio's hit rhythm game adventure comes to life in anime form through the colorful music of Plasmagica and friends, but is this show worth watching on its own merits? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― Show by Rock has the kind of pedigree that might make you worry. Based on a rhythm game and owned by Sanrio, you could be forgiven for having serious misgivings about this series starring adorable people ...
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Bloom into You GN 1

This yuri romance starts off in ways just different enough from the genre norm to be intriguing. Rebecca Silverman explains why. ― Asexuality is perhaps one of the least represented sexual orientations in fiction, and a yuri series is certainly one of the last places you might expect to find it. And yet the first volume of Nio Nakatani's Bloom into You has overtones of one of its heroines, Yuu, being...
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Captive Hearts Of Oz GN 1

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

This lighthearted comedy about nine siblings vying for a fairytale throne flew under the radar last year, but is it worth a look on Blu-Ray? Theron Martin investigates. ― Some anime series are best watched week-by-week as they broadcast, while some others are best suited for marathon viewing. This 12-episode series from 2015 decidedly falls in the former category, since its penchant for high-strung c...
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Matoi the Sacred Slayer Episodes 1-12 Streaming

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

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

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

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