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review

Sirius the Jaeger

This hybrid between vampire-fighting action and elaborate period-piece has style in abundance but holds back on the substance. Theron Martin has the details on this Netflix-hosted series. ― This 12-episode series is an original anime production by P.A. Works and Masahiro Ando, whose previous directorial credits are as varied as Hanasaku Iroha, Snow White with the Red Hair, and the movie Sword of the ...
review

REVIEW: Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel II. lost butterfly

The second film in the Sakura trilogy ramps up the stakes and the shock factor considerably, but is it a stronger film for the intensity? Kim Morrissy finds out from the film's debut in Japan. ― I called Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel I. presage flower my favorite anime film in 2017. I said that even though I considered myself only a casual Fate fan. I thought it was the best anime adaptation of a Fa...
review

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue Blu-ray

This visual novel adaptation turns a fantastical high-flying sport into breezy entertainment, but perhaps it's a little too light on its feet. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Although Aokana: Four Rhythm Across the Blue has its origins in an adult visual novel, I suspect that watching the anime is a vastly different experience. That's not simply because the anime takes out any ecchi elements pre...
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Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc and the Alchemist Knight

This more sleazy and supernatural take on the famous battles of Agincourt and Orleans brings history to life in some questionable ways. Theron Martin examines what went wrong. ― Sadly, any discussion of the worst anime of 2018 wouldn't be complete without bringing up this title. Though the series does improve somewhat in its later stages, I have rarely watched a more disastrous anime to completion. T...
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Nier Automata: Long Story Short

Can this official novelization of the beloved action game still communicate the original story's strong heart through text alone? James Beckett finds out. ― While I have yet to complete the original NieR video game that was released back in 2010, I consider its sequel, 2017's NieR: Automata, to be one of my favorite video games of all time. Writer/director Yoko Taro has always been known for crafting...
review

Slumbering Beauty GNs 1-2

This short series by the author of Usagi Drop turns the story of Sleeping Beauty on its head in unusual ways. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Even if you were burned by the second half of Bunny Drop, Yumi Unita's first series to see an English release, it's worth picking up Slumbering Beauty. For one thing, the two series are completely dissimilar, although both deal with protagonists who aren't...
review

Conception—Episodes 1-12 streaming

This unusual harem series sees its hero having children with twelve women of the zodiac. But does its entertainment value match its lascivious premise? Theron Martin has the answers. ― In recent years, non-reincarnation isekai stories so commonly have some degree of harem elements that it's almost noteworthy when they aren't present. (They're slightly less prevalent in reincarnation isekai, but only ...
review

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 13

A pit stop turns into a much bigger hurdle for our heroes in this slower character-focused volume. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― While The Rising of the Shield Hero is, in many ways, a fairly typical isekai story, it differs in one very pointed and interesting way: Naofumi has zero interest in romance. Largely this is the result of his treatment at the hands of Witch and Trash back in the firs...
review

planetarian BD+DVD

Planetarian offers a tightly written and heartbreaking sci fi parable in a modest visual package. Nick Creamer has the details. ― Planetarian is based on a visual novel of the same name, composed by unimpeachable nakige (“crying game”) experts Key. Originally released just months after the sprawling and tragic Clannad, Planetarian was a far more modest work, and in fact was originally a “kinetic nove...
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The Bride & the Exorcist Knight GNs 1-2

This supernatural shojo romance has its fun moments, but the age gap romance may be an issue for some readers. Rebecca Silverman weighs the highs and lows of these volumes. ― We hear a lot more talk about Lolita series (shows where the female romantic interest is a child), but not so much about Shota ones. That's not because they don't exist, but perhaps rather because there's simply less of a spotli...
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Umineko When They Cry Episode 7: Requiem of the Golden Witch Volumes 2-3

The line between mystery and fantasy grows more solid as Umineko enters its endgame. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― “The detective story,” wrote famed author S. S. Van Dine (real name Willard Huntington Wright), “is a game. It is more – it is a sporting event. And the author must play fair with the reader.” These words are part of Van Dine's introduction to his twenty laws for detective and mystery fic...
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So I'm a Spider, So What? Novel 4

Revelations abound in this action-packed volume that turns expectations about both the villains and heroes upside-down. Theron Martin has the details. ― In my review for volume 3, I expressed concern about how long the power creep of the titular character would be manageable going forward, given how strong she was getting by the end of that novel. Volume 4 proves definitively that this isn't going to...
review

Zillion BD/DVD

The retro release of this '80s sci fi action series stands out for its throwback box art that looks like it belongs in the back room of a shuttered video store. Theron Martin finds out if there's anything special under Zillion's charming cover. ― This 31-episode series originally aired in 1987, with an OVA spinoff episode called Zillion: Burning Night following in 1988. Streamline Pictures made an ef...
review

My Hero Academia GN 16

It's a dazzling buffet of heroic abilities and thrilling battles from start to finish as the world of superheroes descends into war. Nick Creamer has the details. ― As I've mentioned in prior volume reviews, the fight between All Might and All For One was a clear turning point for My Hero Academia, representing the climax of what may eventually stand as the manga's “first act.” Like One Piece's Arlon...
review

BanG Dream! Blu-ray

The smash hit mobile game was introduced to the world with this anime adaptation about a high school band with sky-high ambitions, but is there any story worth mining under all of Bang Dream!'s commercial fluff? Chris Farris finds out. ― With a successful concert series, a popular mobile game, a currently-running short anime, and a second season on the way, BanG Dream seems to have come into its own ...
review

Metropolis BD+DVD

Osamu Tezuka and Rintaro's sci fi spectacular is finally available on Blu-ray for the first time! James Beckett takes a closer look at how this film has held up almost 20 years later. ― Osamu Tezuka's manga adaptation of Metropolis is an infamously loose interpretation of Fritz Lang's silent film; according to Tezuka himself, he'd only seen a single promotional image for Lang's movie when he sat down...
review

Cursed Princess and the Lucky Knight Novel

This twisted take on Beauty and the Beast tweaks its fairytale traditions just enough to be memorable. Rebecca Silverman offers her analysis. ― There is a theory that states that the fairy tale known as Beauty and the Beast was originally popularized in 17th century France as a way to calm the nerves of aristocratic, highly sheltered young women before their arranged marriages to older men. That's no...
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REVIEW: Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative

This Universal Century timeline film works well as a complement to Gundam Unicorn, but struggles to stand out as its own story. Kim Morrissy has the details from the movie's theatrical run in Japan. ― The only thing I knew about Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative before I watched it was that hilarious key visual showing three characters striking an awkward pose together. You might have seen it too because ...
review

Assassination Classroom - The Movies BD/DVD

Despite cutting out some key plot and character details, this tale of a class of misfits and their octopus teacher makes the transition to live-action surprisingly well. Rebecca Silverman gets into it. ― As far as manga easily adapted to live-action film goes, Assassination Classroom is easily towards the bottom of the list. Not only does it star a giant yellow octopus monster, but it also relies on ...
review

REVIEW: Zoku Owarimonogatari

This Monogatari epilogue film explores whether Araragi has any story left to tell now that his senior year full of supernatural nonsense has finally come to an end. Richard Eisenbeis has the answers. ― The Monogatari series, which began back in 2009 with Bakemonogatari, is the story of not-so-average high school student Araragi and his attempts to help people suffering from occult maladies that are d...
review

Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki

An intimate and revealing glimpse inside the challenging and sometimes frustrating process of a legend in the twilight of his career - and tonight's your last chance to catch it in theaters! ― Animator, director and subject of Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki, is known for creating worlds of wonder — though not without a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the process. He and his cohorts at the Japanese...
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REVIEW: Castlevania Season 2

Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, and the half-vampire Alucard must stop Dracula's apocalyptic war in this thrilling conclusion to Castlevania's first major arc on Netflix. James Beckett has the details. ― I enjoyed the first season of Netflix's Castlevania, but its very limited runtime made it feel less like a full season of television and more like a movie that had been broken up into more digestible...
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Dragon Ball Super: Broly

The Legendary Super Saiyan Broly joins the official Dragon Ball Super canon in this lavish, intense and bare-knuckled re-imagining of the original 1993 film that's currently ruling the box office in Japan! ― At this point, Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball franchise hardly needs any introduction. With hundreds upon hundreds of episodes, over a dozen feature films and specials, and fame the world over, you...
review

Bad Friends GN

Dark and at times difficult, this Korean comic looks back at the ways that friends can both save and destroy us. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Bad Friends, award-winning manhwaga Ancco's English-language debut, is brutal. That's not to say that it's full of violence or horrors, although there is a lot of physical abuse. What makes it so difficult is the combination of clear-eyed hindsight and ...
review

My Monster Secret GN 12

My Monster Secret maintains confidence and charm as it continues to explore its central relationship, even if individual chapters are hit or miss. Nick Creamer has the details. ― It's always felt a little strange to me that so many romantic comedies tend to end the moment their principle couples actually get together. Embracing an actual relationship means abandoning some of the “will they or won't t...
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New Game!! - Season Two BD/DVD

New Game’s second season improves on the first while still staying true to its core appeal. Nick Creamer cheers on this charming sequel. ― The first season of New Game! was a very pleasant time all around, presenting the trials and tribulations of a small game development studio with all the coziness it could possibly afford. New Game!'s gentle slice of life storytelling meant it didn't really succee...
review

After the Rain Omnibus 1

This unconventional romance combines beautiful art with nuanced storytelling to deliver a truly unique coming-of-age story. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― There's something deliberately uncomfortable about After the Rain's apparent central premise – that a seventeen-year-old girl is not only crushing on a forty-five-year-old man, but that she's persistent about acting on it, and he's not quite ...
game review

REVIEW: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

At long last, the definitive version of Nintendo's beloved fighting game series is out on the Nintendo Switch. Branden Johnson finds out if this edition really lives up to all the hype. ― The level of excitement in the Smash Bros. fan community has probably never been higher. For all intents and purposes, this is the game. The one that has everything we could possibly want (okay, except for Waluigi)....
review

Wolf & Parchment: New Theory Spice & Wolf Novel 3

This more low-key adventure for Col and Myuri does a great job expanding the series' world, but the transition from lore to drama isn't as smooth as fans might hope. Theron Martin has the details. ― The first novel of this “next generation” sequel to Spice and Wolf dealt with events that could have world-shaking consequences, while the second volume dealt with events that could reshape an entire regi...
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Gamers! BD/DVD

This romcom mixes relatable nerd relationships and references with cartoonish hijinks to deliver a winning blend of warm fuzzies. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― We talk to other people all the time, but do we really listen? That's a question that never gets directly asked in Gamers, but it certainly forms the backbone of the story's misunderstanding-based humor. Following a group of high school...
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Cutie Honey: The Classic Collection [Hardcover] GNs 1-2

Go Nagai's wildly influential magical girl manga is finally available in a beautiful hardback release. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Cutie Honey is an important series on several fronts. Not only does it lay down a few of the basic rules that later magical girls would follow – most specifically the naked transformation scene trope, which gets ample reuse in both tame and more Honey-like fanser...
review

Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization GN 1

This adaptation of an SAO video game sports a few intriguing elements, but it might not add enough to the franchise to engage more casual fans. Theron Martin has the details. ― This manga is an adaptation of a video game of the same name, which was loosely derived from the core SAO story. Though the source game is the fourth one made for the franchise, it is the first one to get adapted, and that cau...
review

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion

This historical fiction adventure rides the line well between period piece and war drama. Theron Martin has the details. ― Tsushima Island is located about halfway across the Korea Strait, which makes it the closest Japanese territory to the Korean Peninsula. Hence any invasion of Japan from Korea would naturally use the island as a stepping stone. Such was the case in 1274, when the Korean vassals o...
review

Skip Beat! Complete Series BD

With its strong characters, good sense of humor, and well-produced English dub, Skip Beat is the kind of series you don't need to be a shoujo fan to enjoy. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Skip Beat, as fans of the manga by Yoshiki Nakamura it's based on know, is a story that's much more than the sum of its parts. Nominally the story of sixteen-year-old Kyoko Mogami getting revenge on her childho...
review

REVIEW: Mirai

Mamoru Hosoda's newest film is his most personal creation yet. Kim Morrissy has our review ahead of the movie's U.S. theatrical debut. ― Mirai isn't going to surprise anyone who has been following Mamoru Hosoda's films for long. Like all of Hosoda's recent films at Studio Chizu, Mirai is a sweet and humble story about family bonds, presented with a dash of magic and wonder. It feels very much like a ...
review

Shortcake Cake GN 2

This calm but engrossing shojo romance stands out for its deliberate pacing and captivating heroine. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Like many shoujo romances of its ilk, Shortcake Cake has wasted no time in assembling suitors for its heroine Ten's affections. In the first volume we met both Riku and Chiaki, who also live at Ten's boarding house, and now in the second we also meet Rei, who has s...
review

Witch Hunter Robin DVD

Funimation's release of this supernatural procedural puts it back into print for the first time in a decade. Theron Martin finds out how this stylishly gothic series has held up over the years. ― In the early 2000s, when this anime-original 26-episode series was first hitting the North American market legally, Witch Hunter Robin was one of the hottest properties around. That was due in no small part ...
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Dragon Quest Illustrations: 30th Anniversary Edition Artbook

Akira Toriyama's classic artwork shines in this special collection of pieces from the beloved game series. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― It's hard to find someone who has never heard of Akira Toriyama, or at least his works. After his arrival on the shounen manga scene with Dr. Slump, Toriyama solidified his fame with the extensive Dragonball series, spin-offs of which continue to be released ...
review

REVIEW - Godzilla: The Planet Eater

The final film in this trilogy from Polygon Pictures and Gen Urobuchi will be arriving on Netflix soon, but Richard Eisenbeis has our sneak peek at how the battle between Godzilla and Ghidorah will resolve! ― Following 2017's Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters and 2018's Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle, Godzilla: The Planet Eater is the third and final film in the Godzilla anime trilogy. Penned by...
game review

Pokémon: Let's Go!

Pokémon fans can explore the Kanto region like never before in this high-def remake of the classic Yellow Version, but has Generation 1 aged gracefully? Branden Johnson finds out. ― I missed the Pokemon train entirely the first time around. It's strange; I love JRPGs, and I was the perfect age when Pokemon Red and Blue hit the Gameboy in the 90s. Whatever the reasons, I haven't played a single Pokemo...
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The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 9

This supernatural romance's longest arc yet arrives at its climax in a volume that demonstrates all of this manga’s strengths and weaknesses. Nick Creamer has the details. ― The Ancient Magus' Bride's eighth volume ended with Elias betraying Chise's trust so completely that he drove her into the arms of their mutual foe, the mysterious Cartaphilus. Across this ninth volume, both Cartaphilus' and Chis...
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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Novel 12

DanMachi returns to telling smaller self-contained stories as Bell reaches Level 4 in his training. Theron Martin has the details. ― With the three-volume arc involving the Xenos now complete, writer Fujino Omori returns both to carrying out a pure dungeon crawl and to telling an entirely self-contained story. That's not to say at all that this is an isolated story; some elements and consequences of ...
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Classroom of the Elite BD/DVD

This slice-of-life drama where rich kids must grapple with a meritocratic system has some fascinating ideas, but ultimately can’t come together into a greater whole. Nick Creamer has the details. ― There's a certain subgroup of anime high school dramas that I've come to essentially see as “Catcher in the Rye shows.” Echoing the defiantly cynical yet extremely naive perspective of Catcher's Holden Cau...
game review

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

SNK delivers a history lesson with an anthology of early arcade and NES titles. Todd finds out how well these games have held up in this new game for the Switch. ― What made SNK a cult favorite game company? Was it the Neo Geo, which delivered arcade-perfect games at home for just two hundred dollars per cartridge? Was it the Neo Geo Pocket Color, a well-made and vastly underappreciated handheld syst...
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Eureka Seven: Hi - Evolution 1 BD/DVD

The first movie in this trilogy retelling the story of Eureka Seven gets off to a rocky start. Theron Martin has the details. ― As alternate adaptations of previously-aired anime content go, this 2017 movie, which is scheduled to be the first of three, is an odd duck. It seems intent on contradicting itself, as it wants to nudge the story in some slightly different directions but is also keen on recy...
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Tsuredure Children Complete Series BD/DVD

This anthology-style romcom has enough heart to ground its goofiness, as a charming reminder that even young love is never easy. Rebecca Silverman dives in. ― Teenage romantic comedy is a genre that has essentially been done to death. It's got a long history in both literature and film, so at this point to be able to do something even a little different with the genre is a major accomplishment. Tsure...
review

Nanbaka Part 1 BD/DVD

This unusual take on an office comedy takes place in a high-security prison where the inmates and guards alike are fabulously crazy. James Beckett has the details. ― Nanbaka is one of the most flamboyant anime I've ever seen – this may be a show about a gang of rapscallions trying to bust out of jail and annoy the prison guard, but I'll be damned if Jyugo and the gang don't all look good doing it. Ev...
review

Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments

Melodias and his friends return in this full second season available on Netflix! Theron Martin has the details. ― Revival of the Commandments is the true second season of The Seven Deadly Sins. Viewers could probably get by with skipping the four-episode interlude Signs of Holy War and still fully understand what's going on here, as this is where the main plotline continues, but I still recommend wat...
review

The Ancient Magus' Bride GN 8

This weighty volume sees Elias and Chise’s relationship tested like never before. Nick Creamer has the details. ― The Ancient Magus' Bride's seventh volume represented a key turning point in heroine Chise's emotional development. Having started the series at a point where she valued herself so slightly that she literally let herself be sold as property, Chise has gained close friends and confidence, ...
review

Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan

This more whimsical take on a military dramedy suffers from some tone and audience problems but still manages to dish out hours of undeniable charm. Theron Martin has the details. ― Over the years, we've seen anime titles about dragon riders and ones about pilots of transforming aircraft, but this 12-episode original production by Studio Bones may be the first time that the two concepts have been wel...
review

The Hero and His Elf Bride Open a Pizza Parlor in Another World Novel 1

This isekai parody is just tongue-in-cheek enough to be worth reading. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― It is something of a relief to realize that Kaya Kizaki's The Hero and his Elf Bride Open a Pizza Parlor in Another World is actually a parody of the pervasive isekai genre. That's not because there's anything wrong with it as a genre, but recent trends have stretched its credulity, so to see K...
review

Liz and the Blue Bird

Nick Creamer describes this unconventional and gorgeous Sound! Euphonium spinoff as director Naoko Yamada's "greatest masterpiece yet, and one of the best films I’ve witnessed in years." ― Liz and the Blue Bird is a film centered around two stories: the actual fable of Liz and the Blue Bird, and the story of two girls assigned as its soloists for the Kitauji Concert Band. These girls, Mizore and Nozo...
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Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! GN 1

This manga adaptation of the isekai light novel offers readers a first glimpse of what to expect from the anime version next year. Theron Martin has the details. ― Didn't I say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life? is a title that badly needs a shorter title, especially since an eventual anime version was announced earlier this year. It started in 2016 as a web novel before being picked up f...
review

The Champions of Justice and the Supreme Ruler of Evil eBook

This reverse harem romance spins the genre on its head by making the heroine heir to an evil overlord throne. Can she find the way to her hero of justice's heart anyway? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― The Champions of Justice and the Supreme Ruler of Evil is part send-up of stories about, well, champions of justice and supervillains and part more serious romance tale. That works much better than you ...
review

Re:ZERO Memory Snow OVA

This comedic side story won't scratch fans' ache for a continuation of the story, but provides enough fun and warmth to make the wait for season two more bearable. Kim Morrissy has the details. ― Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- is one of the better “transported to another world” light novel adaptations in recent memory. I'd go far enough to say that it's my favorite series in this subgenre, ...
review

Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System - Case.1 Crime and Punishment

Akane, Mika and the Sibyl System are back in the first of three new Psycho-Pass movies; does this new installment, set about six months after the events of the film, live up to the Psycho-Pass standard? Richard Eisenbeis reports. ― Following two seasons of the TV anime and a theatrical film, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System is a trilogy of one hour films. Instead of being connected into an overarch...
review

Planet With

Satoshi Mizukami’s epic, thoughtful, and heartfelt adventure is worth checking out for fans in search of something different. Nick Creamer has the details. ― Mangaka Satoshi Mizukami first came to my attention via the much-loved manga Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer. Only published in english years after its Japanese release, the manga's long road to availability seemed like a hardscrabble echo of the sto...
review

Black Clover BD+DVD 1

While it doesn't push the envelope enough to be exciting, Black Clover plays its classic shonen cards well enough to please fans of the genre. Theron Martin has the details. ― As shonen action anime go, Black Clover adds practically nothing new to the genre. It follows common genre set-up, pacing, plotting, and story beats almost to a fault and only offers relatively minor variations in characterizat...
review

Beatless Final Stage

These final four episodes dramatically conclude this slow-burn sci fi adventure's plot, but do they answer enough questions to make the show worthwhile? Theron Martin finds out. ― If you skip the intermission episodes, these are the true episodes 21-24 of Beatless, though you'll find them on Amazon Prime Video as episodes 25-28. Released over the course of a week in late September, they represent the...
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Radiant GN 1

This shonen action series by a French artist hews so close to genre conventions that it struggles to stand out. Theron Martin has the details. ― Though published in manga form – including reading in Japan's tradition right-to-left format – and often advertised as a manga, Radiant is actually a French comic book written and drawn by a creator who now lives in Canada. That hasn't stopped it from being ...
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Show By Rock!!# & Shorts BD/DVD

Poor plotting and pacing undermine this otherwise fun second outing in the Show By Rock franchise. ― The first season of Show by Rock, based on the game of the same name, was a delightful romp, full of catchy songs and nenoroid-ready CG characters. While that should be equally true of the show's second outing, it regretfully doesn't pull it off with nearly as much panache. In part this is simply beca...
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Seirei Gensouki - Spirit Chronicles Novel 1: Kingdom of Lies

Bland story and poor pacing detract from this otherwise passable isekai novel. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― There's an old saying that at this point embodies the still-popular isekai genre: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's essentially what's going on with Seirei Gensouki - Spirit Chronicles' first novel. The story fits comfortably into familiar genre patterns, with our protagonist Haru...
game review

My Hero: One's Justice (PlayStation 4)

My Hero One’s Justice captures the essence of its source material, and offers a fine experience for anyone looking to cross blows as their My Hero Academia favorites. ― The anime franchise tie-in brawler is a venerable gaming institution, with Bandai Namco having published similar efforts for franchises like Naruto and Dragon Ball in the past. On the other hand, One's Justice developer Byking are rel...
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Satoko and Nada GN 1

This slice-of-life drama about a Japanese college student and her new hijabi roommate succeeds in both its cultural accuracy and heart. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― The world is a big place, and that means that there are many different kinds of people in it. That may sound elementary and maybe even a bit ridiculous, but for those who live in largely homogenous cultures or areas of any given c...
review

Seven Senses of the Re'Union

This mystery melodrama mashes the VRMMO craze up with the plot of Anohana, but is this blend harmonious or just confused? Theron Martin has the answers. ― At first, this light novel-based series seems to be a blend of the premises from anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and .hack//SIGN. This series never entirely moves away from that parallel, as many of the character relationships and romantic tens...
review

Garo: Divine Flame BD+DVD

While not quite essential viewing, this movie provides a welcome reminder of everything Garo: The Animation did so well. Nick Creamer has the details. ― Garo: The Animation was a welcome surprise when it came out a few years ago. Combining the classic live-action Garo franchise with a fanciful narrative set in an alternate inquisition-era Spain, it offered an action spectacle full of colorful charact...
review

My Brother's Husband GN 2

Yaichi realizes just how much his brother's husband has become part of the family in this touching finale to Gengoroh Tagame's family manga. ― It is something of a shock to realize that the entirety of My Brother's Husband, of which this is the final omnibus volume, takes place over only three weeks. That's probably because they are such full weeks for the three main characters of Gengoroh Tagame's f...
review

Tokyo Ghoul:re GNs 5-7

Tokyo Ghoul:re is not as compelling as its predecessor, but by these volumes, it seems to be getting back on track with a more detailed focus on character development. ― Tokyo Ghoul:re is at its best when it's exploring the inner struggles of Ken Kaneki-turned-Haise Sasaki. That means that of these three volumes, book seven is the strongest, playing into that theme and using elements of both series o...
review

Bleach (live-action)

This real-life take on the classic shonen hit is available on Netflix, but does it do justice to the first arc of the original manga? Theron Martin finds out. ― Live-action adaptations of supernatural stories must be approached with trepidation, given the number of cringe-worthy efforts in the past. That caution certainly applies to this movie, which debuted in Japan in August 2018 and is now availab...
review

My Hero Academia GN 15

Despite some great moments, this isn't one of MHA's brighter volumes, as complicated exposition drags down the story's pacing. Nick Creamer has the details. ― The simplicity of Midoriya's view of heroism has always been one of those assumed truths that I'd always assumed My Hero Academia was simply holding on the back burner for future conflicts. Contributing to complex, large-scale police operations...
review

Garrison Girl: An Attack on Titan Novel

This American YA romance take on Attack on Titan is unique in its unusual origins, but does it add much to Isayama's world and characters for prior fans? James Beckett finds out. ― From the opening of its first chapter, Rachel Aaron's Garrison Girl: An Attack on Titan Novel is a profoundly strange reading experience, at least if you're coming to the book as a fan of the original material created by H...
review

The Dark Maidens Novel

This is the kind of excellent mystery that's difficult to put down, but you also don't want to read too quickly. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― There are many ways to tell a mystery. Whether you use the classic four-act format, the basic whodunit, or something completely different, the end goal no matter what is to find out not only who committed the crime, but also why. That's a very twisting ...
review

Alice & Zoroku BD/DVD

This unusual slice-of-life drama about a girl with magical powers finding a family flew under the radar last year, but how does it hold up on Blu-ray? Theron Martin finds out. ― The basic premise here – a super-powered girl who's largely a blank slate hooks up with a gruff older man, who reluctantly takes her in but gradually comes to consider her family – is hardly a new one in the field of anime; t...
game review

Fist of the North Star: Paradise Lost

The classic head-exploding action of Fist of the North Star is poured into the Yakuza gameplay mold, but do these two great tastes taste great together? Daryl Surat scours the wasteland to find out. ― The last few years have marked a surge in popularity among English-language fans of both Sega's long-running Yakuza series of videogames as well as—to a lesser extent—the formative trope-establishing Sh...
review

Magical Girl Site—Episodes 1-12 Streaming

This initially off-putting dark magical girl series faded into the background last season, but is it worth checking out in hindsight? Theron Martin has the answers. ― The manga that this Spring 2018 series adapts is a spin-off of the manga Magical Girl Apocalypse. However, you don't need to have any familiarity with the original in order to fully understand this story, as it seems to be entirely self...
review

My Hero Academia Season 3

My Hero Academia’s third season offers inconsistent thrills, but still demonstrates this franchise’s strength as a propulsive and often beautiful action spectacle. ― My Hero Academia's second season represented a fairly dramatic step up from its predecessor. With all of the introductory work handled in the first season, season two was able to expand the story's scope through thrilling arcs that made ...
review

UQ Holder! GN 12

UQ Holder continues to offer a variety of uneven but often entertaining shenanigans as it falls further and further under the shadow of its predecessor Negima. ― Given the very abrupt ending to Ken Akamatsu's prior manga, Negima, I always wondered if he himself was satisfied with where that story left his characters. After building up dozens of engaging characters with resonant arcs and fun conflicts...
review

Phantom in the Twilight

Phantom in the Twilight's gaggle of hot monster boyfriends with individual quirks are spared from genre mediocrity by an exceptional lead heroine, but is it enough to make the show worth watching? Chris Farris finds out. ― Phantom in the Twilight's setup is pretty rote by the standards of its peers. Just having ‘Twilight’ in the title gives you a basic idea of what to expect from a show whose chief v...
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100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams: The Animation Episodes 1 - 12 Streaming

This fantasy series promises a bevy of princes, but it might come up short for all but die-hard fans of the genre. Rebecca Silverman weighs in. ― If ever there was a vaguely deceptive title, it's this one. 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams: The Animation never reaches the eponymous kingdom, and exactly one of the princes is “sleeping” in the sense initially described by mascot character ...
game review

Mega Man 11

It's Mega Man's big chance for a comeback, and it's not what some fans might expect. We dig into a video-game icon's return! ― Don't let the number fool you. This may be the eleventh or twelfth central Mega Man title. It may be backed by several spin-off series. Yet it's been nearly a decade since the last full-blown game in the series. Even then, Mega Man 9 and 10 were deliberate throwbacks, built t...
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Tokyo Ghoul:re GN 3 & 4

These volumes are a touch overambitious as Sui Ishida tries to get a few too many ducks into rows for comfort. ― The idea of “metamorphosis” suggests a changing from one being into another, a change often symbolized by the butterfly, who spends time in a chrysalis as a caterpillar only to emerge into the sky. But what we forget when we utilize that metaphor is that the caterpillar is technically stil...
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Erased [Hardcover] GN 5

A collection of short stories, this final volume allows us to see Satoru as his friends and family do, and to fully feel the impact of a town without him. ― There are plenty of reasons why a series might not use a direct translation of its title for its localization, and while titles are undoubtedly important, both as a means for the author to give a feeling for the story and as a motivating factor i...
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RErideD episodes 1-4

Serial Experiments Lain illustrator Yoshitoshi ABe is back this fall with a mind-bending original sci-fi anime series. Theron Martin takes a journey through the first 4 episodes to find out if it's a trip worth taking. ― This original anime series is going to get a fair amount of attention if for no other reason than because of the involvement of Yoshitoshi ABe, the internationally-famous illustrator...
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Monster Hunter Stories RIDE ON BD+DVD Part 3

Monster Hunter Stories finds its feet in this set of episodes which sets up an interest metaphor between grieving Cheval and the Blighted monsters. ― Monster Hunter Stories Ride On had some struggles in its first two sets of episodes, but here in part three, it feels as if it's finally gotten to where it needed to. The central theme of the show has always been “kinship,” and up to this point, that's ...
review

UQ Holder! GN 11

UQ Holder’s eleventh volume offers a sometimes unsatisfying but generally well-executed sampling of all the manga’s various priorities. ― It sure has taken a while to get here. First introduced all the way back in volume seven, this volume sees the Mahora Martial Arts Tournament finally on the immediate horizon. We aren't there quite yet, and unfortunately, a great deal of this volume does feel like ...
game review

Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle

Capcom resurrects a bunch of their classic arcade brawlers with a seven-game collection. Do they still put up a fight? ― Brawlers. Beat 'Em Ups. Belt-Scrollers. Double Dragon Clones. Punk Punching Parades. Those Arcade Games That Mom And Dad Always Said Were Too Violent For You Back in 1988. Whatever you call them, they never quite got their moment on top. True, they were staples of arcades in the la...
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UQ Holder! GN 10

UQ Holder’s tenth volume leans heavily on Akamatsu’s laziest tendencies, trending far more harem than action spectacle. ― Ken Akamatsu's works have been a balancing act between harem shenanigans and fantasy aspirations, ever since Love Hina's mild-mannered Keitaro was spirited away by a squad of zeppelins. Negima more or less split the difference between these goals, offering legitimately thrilling a...
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Escape Journey GN 1

Escape Journey is one of those BL manga that struggles to hit a note between “romantic” and “kind of upsetting.” ― Escape Journey is one of those BL manga that struggles to hit a note between “romantic” and “kind of upsetting.” It's the story of a relationship that could be termed unhealthy from some points of view, and like many of what are known as “Old Skool” romances, consent isn't always a given...
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The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 12

Too many rushed plots and the continuation of the slave issue make this one of the series' weaker volumes. ― The Rising of the Shield Hero has been consistently upping the stakes for protagonist Naofumi, the eponymous Shield Hero, with mixed results. While early volumes dealt with the prejudices he faced as the Shield Hero, beloved of the demi-humans and not so much by the human population of Melroma...
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Haikyu!! The Movie: Battle of Concepts

The thrilling third season of Haikyu! is squished into a 90-minute film with some absolutely gorgeous Production I.G animation, but does the story survive the transition? Lynzee Loveridge tapes up her hands and gets on the court. ― As a compilation film, Haikyu!! The Movie: Battle of Concepts compresses the 10-episode third season of the Haikyu!! anime series into a tight 90 minute film and cuts much...
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Eccentric Master and the Fake Lover Novel 1

"The Eccentric Master and the Fake Lover has some issues that might turn a reader off, but it is making an effort to be a fun fantasy and a slightly dangerous romance, both of which can be very appealing genres." ― If descriptions of messy kisses with lots of swapped saliva aren't your thing, this may not be the light novel for you. Vaguely reminiscent of Mysterious Girlfriend X in terms of its use o...
game review

Import Review: My Hero One's Justice

My Hero Academia arrives on consoles and PC as a fully-featured arena brawler bursting with everyone's favorite heroes, but does it go PLUS ULTRA? Find out in our early review. ― With the current popularity of superheroes in popular culture, it's no surprise that superhero anime My Hero Academia is three seasons in and commands an ever-growing legion of loyal fans both inside and outside of Japan. Th...
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Dr. Stone GN 1

This new Shonen Jump title from the author of Eyeshield 21 showcases compelling, pulpy adventure fun in a world where mankind has met a very dark fate. ― Riichiro Inagaki is certainly not a one-trick pony. Best known in the English-speaking world for his football series Eyeshield 21, this time he tackles science fiction with Dr. Stone, a story about restarting the world after a mysterious event froze...
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Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods GN 1

Despite its enchanting premise, this is much more a book for slice-of-life fans or cute girl stories than anyone looking for a new fantasy series. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Readers of a certain age will remember a 1980s TV show called “The World of David the Gnome.” If you grew up watching it, or its original Spanish-language broadcast “David el gnomo,” reading Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Litt...
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In Another World With My Smartphone: Limited Edition BD+DVD

This slice-of-life power fantasy disappoints on every level possible, representing the barest bottom of the isekai barrel. Nick Creamer has the details on the nicest version of the show available. ― The recent ascendancy of the isekai genre has resulted in an absurd glut of trapped-in-another-world anime of all shapes and sizes. Some of these, like Log Horizon, take a thoughtful approach to their own...
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Puzzle & Dragons X BD+DVD Part 3

This family series continues its winning streak with what might be the most concise tournament arc in recent memory. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― The tournament arc is a staple of the shounen adventure story, and in many cases it can take tens of episodes as the hero fights his way from the bottom to the top, often contending with a variety of fierce opponents, not all of whom are strictly ho...

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