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review

Devilman: The Classic Collection GN 1

One of the most influential manga of all time is out in a fancy new edition! Rebecca Silverman breaks down what's aged well about Go Nagai's classic—and what hasn't. ― If you've read any dark shounen or seinen action series written after 1973, you've probably seen the influence of Go Nagai's original Devilman manga. While it may not be the first of its kind, it certainly has been a major tone-setter ...
review

Kiss Him, Not Me BD/DVD

This fujoshi-driven romcom tries to roll with its premise in good fun, but its choices may be too short-sighted and mean-spirited to appeal to everyone. Rebecca Silverman gets into it. ― Kiss Him, Not Me, based on the manga of the same name by Junko, is a bit problematic at its core. Not only does it at first blush rely on the tired old trope of the girl losing weight and her glasses and suddenly bec...
review

Requiem of the Rose King GN 8

This reimagining of Shakespeare's history plays begins as Richard struggles to cope with the loss of Henry and darker forces begin creeping out of the shadows. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― I've read the history of England's War of the Roses, and I've read the Shakespeare history plays Aya Kanno is basing Requiem of the Rose King on, Henry VI (all parts) and Richard III. But it is Kanno's mang...
review

Little Princess in Fairy Forest Novel

If you think that a dragon and a knight sound like the coolest possible dads, this thoughtful dark fantasy adventure is well-worth your time. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― Sometimes you just know that an author has done her research. That's true of Tsubaki Tokino's novel Little Princess in Fairy Forest: from names to folk songs to fairy tale elements, it's obvious that she really looked into the cultu...
review

So I'm a Spider, So What? Novel 2

This slightly more creepy-crawly take on isekai reincarnation doesn't break from formula too much, but it does everything refreshingly better than its many peers in the genre. Theron Martin has the details. ― The field of isekai reincarnation novel series is so dense and thickly populated with weird options that even a catchy title and premise might not hold reader attention for long; a series has to...
review

Juana and the Dragonewt's Seven Kingdoms GNs 1-2

The first two thirds of this fantasy road trip are humble yet satisfying. Rebecca Silverman explores the attractive art and charming idiosyncrasies of the dragonewt kingdoms. ― Everything eventually cycles back around. That's part of the philosophy behind the world building of Kiyohisa Tanaka's debut manga series, Juana and the Dragonewt's Seven Kingdoms: first there were dinosaurs, then there were h...
review

Mia and the Forbidden Medicine Report

This steampunk adventure novel explores the stigmatization of illness in refreshing and engaging ways. Rebecca Silverman explores how. ― Despite having some of the trappings of a standard reverse harem school story, Mia and the Forbidden Medicine Report is much more of a science drama than a romance. The story takes place in a vaguely early 20th century steampunk setting, where country girl Mia Bauma...
review

A Kiss, For Real GN 1

This relatable romance story focuses on personal transformation as much as first love. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― If there's a time in your life tailor-made for trying to hide in plain sight, it's middle and high school. Chitose learned that lesson a little earlier than most of her classmates, however: her parents run a fusion restaurant with Indian themes, and Chitose was picked on for com...
review

Nameless Asterism GNs 1-2

This romance story's potentially melodramatic love geometry is grounded by realistic depictions of middle schoolers trying to navigate relationships with maturity. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Nameless Asterism's synopsis might make you think that it's a melodrama of the highest order. And maybe it is, on paper – after all, it has more love geometry than titles that wear that as a badge of pr...
review

My Hero Academia Season Two Part One — Limited Edition BD/DVD

MHA's take on the tournament arc stands strong among the storied history of shonen spectacle. Nick Creamer delves into all the goodies in this action-packed release that covers some of the show's best material. ― The tournament arc has been a staple of the shounen genre for decades at this point. From Yu Yu Hakusho's fabled Dark Tournament to Naruto's chunin exams to Dragon Ball's various pre- and po...
review

Astra Lost in Space GNs 1-3

This engrossing sci fi survival adventure only gets better and better as it goes on. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Some series get better as they go on, and Astra Lost in Space is definitely one of them. While the first volume is largely setup, establishing the base plotline that the next four books will follow (the series is complete at five volumes) and introducing the characters, the next t...
review

Flip Flappers Limited Edition Blu-ray

This wildly imaginative romantic adventure starring an unlikely duo of magical girls is finally available in a limited edition release packed with extras. Nick Creamer breaks down just what makes Flip Flappers so special. ― 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 “...
review

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. BD/DVD

Natsume Ono's low-key, stylish political thriller might not be for everyone, but its idiosyncratic charms are well worth their weight in discussion. James Beckett has the details. ― ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. passed me by when it originally aired in winter of 2017. The bureaucratically focused premise didn't appeal to me at first glance, and even now that I've finished Funimation's Blu-Ray/D...
review

The Rising of the Shield Hero Novel 10

Naofumi takes a break from saving the world to rebuild Raphtalia's village in a volume that deals with a few uncomfortable themes. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― If Naofumi thought that defeating the Spirit Tortoise and then chasing the villains who complicated everything back to their own world would make his life as the Shield Hero any easier, he thought wrong. Granted, at this point, Naofumi...
review

Ace Attorney Part 2 BD+DVD

Ace Attorney adapts its second game in a set of episodes that's over-the-top goofy with a few glaring issues in plot and art. Rebecca Silverman puts this series on trial. ― Just in case you were wondering, it's apparently quite difficult to enforce Japan's perjury laws. Not that that makes some of the courtroom shenanigans that take place during this second half of Ace Attorney's first season any les...
review

IDOLiSH7—Episodes 1-17 Streaming

Its more grounded plot and super-catchy music help IDOLiSH7 raise the bar for boy idol shows. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― If you've ever felt your credulity strained to the breaking point by idol shows like B-Project or Uta no Prince-sama but haven't given up on the genre yet, you owe it to yourself to check out IDOLiSH 7. While it certainly isn't free of all of the more bizarre tropes tales...
review

Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern Part 1

The first movie in this two-part classic shojo manga adaptation beautifully realizes a bygone era in Japanese history. Kim Morrissy reviews this unique romance before its premiere in the U.S. and Canada this weekend. ― This movie's Japanese title, Haikara-san ga Tōru, translates roughly to “Here Comes a Modern Woman,” but the film itself is a blast from the past. It's an adaptation of a 1970s shojo m...
review

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1 Limited Edition BD/DVD

SuperS starts out on a downswing after the highs of the previous season, but it still has its moments to shine. Rebecca Silverman takes a closer look at this limited edition release. ― Sailor Moon SuperS has a somewhat troubled reputation. Coming directly after fan-favorite, somewhat darker Sailor Moon S and its popular Death Busters arc, SuperS sends the Outer Guardians back into the shadows and alt...
review

Chaos;Child BD/DVD

This dark psychological thriller delivers solid entertainment and intriguing twists if you can forgive its rushed pace and lackluster visuals. Theron Martin digs into this pseudo-sequel's mysteries. ― Chaos;Child is a 2017 adaptation of a visual novel from 2014 that's a thematic sequel to the 2008 visual novel Chaos;Head. While its story carries over the tone, themes, and a scattering of story elemen...
review

My Monster Secret - GN 9

Shiragami's surprise smooch has turned the drama up a notch, but there's also plenty of comedy to go around for this romcom's supporting cast. Nick Creamer has the details. ― After eight long volumes, it finally happened. The last chapter of My Monster Secret's previous volume concluded on Shiragami actually kissing Asahi, following through on dozens of chapters of hemming and hawing and romantic lon...
review

Izetta: The Last Witch BD/DVD

Despite its unusual premise, this magical piece of historical fiction turns out into an all-too-familiar adventure. Nick Creamer weighs this series' highs and lows. ― Like many anime, Izetta: The Last Witch barrels out the gate with a first episode that draws all its strengths to the forefront. We're rapidly introduced to a global conflict and a young woman named Ortfine, the princess of the small co...
review

I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level Novel 1

This reincarnation isekai story lays its premise bare right in the title, but what does this self-published success story have to offer that its numerous peers don't? Theron Martin has the details. ― Anime fans are probably more familiar with Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody, an isekai with a similar premise and story beats to this title. Both feature young adult protagonists who die from o...
review

Hand Shakers BD/DVD

This legendary lemon from last year's dustbin rises again on Blu-ray, but is it time to give Hand Shakers a second chance? Theron Martin finds out if this series is worth another shake. ― This original series from winter of 2017 had one of the lowest average community scores ever for streaming reviews on ANN and was widely regarded by critics and viewers alike as being one of the worst anime of the y...
review

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs GN 1

Old-school harem tropes can't bring down this fun romantic comedy about a psychic boy and the adorable ghost he can't bring himself to exorcise. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Protagonist Kogarashi finds himself living in an old boarding house that used to be a hot springs inn with four beautiful women who have a tendency to smack him into orbit for anything they perceive as a perverted action....
review

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Blu-Ray

Lauren finds herself pretty underwhelmed by the weirdly maudlin and confusing conclusion of Gundam AGE. ― Perhaps nobody was more disappointed by the conclusion of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE than fans who played the video game of the same name. The video game came out on August 30, 2012, giving fans a full month to play it to its poorly received conclusion—only to relive that same ending on September 23,...
review

My Hero Academia - GN 12

The hero students of 1-A sweat off the melodrama of recent events with a pulse-pounding action-driven volume instead. Nick Creamer has the details. ― In the long run, My Hero Academia's eleventh volume may well stand as the climax to its first overall “act.” In narrative terms, that volume represented the point where the world as established across the story's early chapters was shattered entirely. A...
review

Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon Novel 1

This novel's bizarre concept is what will catch people's attention, but the writing is good enough to keep it. Theron Martin has the details on this humorously twisted isekai story. ― When it comes to vending machines, North America simply cannot compare to Japan. They are far more ubiquitous over there, offering options that you will rarely or never see in vending machines in the States; during my o...
review

Koyomimonogatari

Koyomimonogatari hones in on Monogatari’s winding conversational riddles with strange and rewarding results. ― Even for the defiantly, deliberately weird Monogatari franchise, Koyomimonogatari is a particularly strange entry. Originally released as a collection of short stories, it eschewed the Monogatari franchise's usual style to tell even smaller vignettes, stories that were so brief and lacking i...
game review

Review: Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time

This dungeon-crawling action RPG boasts all the style of Studio Trigger's hit series, but not so much the substance. Todd Ciolek digs into this magical adventure. ― It's neither original nor unkind to say that Little Witch Academia stood out on appearances. The series is a charming tale of a misfit at a magical academy, a fantasy staple since well before Harry Potter, but it might not have leapt from...
review

Puzzle & Dragons X BD/DVD Part 2

The adventure continues in this children's mobage adaptation with surprising ambitions. Rebecca Silverman finds out how things develop. ― Just because you've achieved your goal doesn't mean that the journey's over. That's the premise behind the second set of Puzzle & Dragons X episodes to be released on DVD. The first thirteen saw Ace work towards his goal of becoming a dragon caller – the show's com...
review

Interviews with Monster Girls BD/DVD

This slice-of-life comedy delivers an entertaining and occasionally thoughtful package that avoids the seedier pitfalls common to the monster girl genre. Theron Martin digs in. ― Riding the current wave of monster girl titles is this manga adaptation from winter 2017, which takes a somewhat unusual approach to the genre. Rather than treating its subject matter as exotic potential love interests, it a...
review

World's End Harem GN 1

This sci fi series about the procreative responsibilities of one of the last men on earth isn't purely harem cheese, but it won't do enough to hold much appeal for anyone outside the genre either. Theron Martin has the details. ― Late in 2017, Seven Seas Entertainment launched its Ghost Ship imprint as an avenue to bring manga titles specifically for mature audiences to the States. This series joins ...
review

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru Season 1 BD/DVD

Slice-of-life comedy meets Japanese history in this unusual series about sword boys enjoying springtime. James Beckett finds out if the overall experience is rejuvenating or just a snooze. ― Before last year, I had never even heard of the mobile game that kickstarted the Touken Ranbu franchise; my introduction to it was in covering the premiere of ufotable's take on the series, Katsugeki! Touken Ranb...
review

Sorry For My Familiar GN 1

Patty's new familiar Norman is definitely unusual. He's a human, and he's more interested in studying demons like her than helping to find her dad. Rebecca has the details on this goofy fantasy story. ― It is interesting to note that in the spring of 2018 two separate titles bearing remarkable similarities to better-known series have been released. One is The Young Master's Revenge, which conjures up...
review

Amazon Riders

As the first Kamen Rider series to be made widely available in English, Amazon Riders has some major expectations to fulfill, but does it succeed? Chris Farris has the answers. ― The first modern Kamen Rider series made officially available in the West, Kamen Rider Amazons is a series that already sits apart from the main franchise in how experimental it is. Conceived as a darker, more adult-oriented...
review

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Blu Ray Collection 1

"The bones of a brand new addition to the franchise are here, but Gundam AGE never quite stands on its own." Lauren Orsini digs deep on the first half of this tonally-dissonant Gundam outing. ― It's fitting that Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, a show all about generations, marks the end of one era and the beginning of a new one for the Gundam franchise. It was the first Gundam series to simulcast on YouTube ...
review

Kaguya-sama: Love is War GN 1 & 2

They're both in love with each other, but neither will be the first to admit it in this romantic comedy based around the idea that he who admits his crush first loses. ― Kaguya-sama: Love is War is definitely one of the more unique rom-com premises out there, although bizarrely enough it shares a theme with Mai Nishikata's josei manga Game – Suit no Sukima, which is being serialized as an e-book in F...
review

The Young Master's Revenge GN 1

Don't let the title fool you - this is less a revenge story and more one about coming to understand that what you thought was true might not be. ― For readers afraid that Meca Tanaka's The Young Master's Revenge is a shoujo version of Hazuki Takeoka and Tiv's Masamune-kun's Revenge, don't worry. Although the two share a thematic element in the form of a high school boy newly confident in his desirabi...
review

Monster Tamer Girls GN 1

Cute girls doing cute things meets giant monsters in this uniquely charming slice-of-life series. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― It's a fairly obvious truth at this point that there's a large market for stories featuring cute girls doing just about anything, with bonus points if you wouldn't necessarily assume that cute girls would be participating in an activity. While that premise can be wear...
review

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches BD/DVD

Miki Yoshikawa's high school comedy about superpowered smooches is much briefer than its source material, but delivers a memorable story regardless. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― For fans of Miki Yoshikawa's source manga, twelve episodes may feel like not quite enough to do even the first major story arc of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches justice. It is clear that a fair amount is left out ev...
review

Laid-Back Camp—Episodes 1-12 streaming

True to its title, Laid-Back Camp is as comforting as a warm cup of cocoa in a sleeping bag. Nick Creamer uncovers just how this special slice-of-life series makes camping look so fun. ― I did not think I was going to end up in the target audience for Laid-Back Camp. Not only do I just tend to enjoy one or two slice of life shows a year, but camping itself simply doesn't hold any appeal for me. I lik...
review

Obsessions of an Otome Gamer eBook 1

What happens when you combine trapped-in-a-game isekai with otome dating sims? Rebecca Silverman has the answers in this unusual take on the genre. ― The isekai trope of being reborn into a game-like world is one that has been done with increasing frequency in recent years. So why should you give yet another iteration of that story a chance? Because Natsu's Obsessions of an Otome Gamer isn't about fa...
review

Spice & Wolf Volume 19

These four short stories range from lighthearted to contemplative, and from the start of Holo and Lawrence's journey to its end. Theron Martin explains why this novel should be on any fan's shelf. ― While the main storyline of Spice and Wolf may be over, author Isuna Hasekura apparently won't be out of ideas for side stories and sequels anytime soon. In the Afterword for this volume, he states an int...
review

Mononoke Sharing GN 1

This cute slice-of-life series from the author of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is a nice read when you just need a break from life. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Although he has a fair amount of series to his name, most people probably know mangaka coolkyousinnjya as the creator of the original Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid manga. That series, about a normal woman who ends up living with couple...
review

Perfect Blue: Awaken from a Dream

This collection of short stories by the author of Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis continue to explore the alarming relationships between obsessive fans and the objects of their affections. Rebecca Silverman digs in. ― Less a sequel to the first Perfect Blue novel, Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis and more a series of short stories on the same basic theme, Yoshikazu Takeuchi's Perfect Blue: A...
review

Aggretsuko—Episodes 1-10 streaming

This death-metal-loving red panda is just desperate to get through her workday, one scream-worthy struggle at a time. James Beckett discovers what makes this unusual office comedy so exceptional. ― I'm not normally one to go crazy over Sanrio characters, but from the moment the credits rolled on the first of Aggretsuko's ten 15-minute episodes, I knew I had found in Retsuko the ideal mascot for perpe...
review

Violet Evergarden—Episodes 1-13 streaming

Violet Evergarden rises from shaky beginnings to tell a heartfelt story full of visual beauty and quiet growth for its heroine. Nick Creamer has the details. ― Kyoto Animation have established a firm reputation as an animation powerhouse. From their breakout hits like Haruhi Suzumiya and K-ON! to more recent highlights like Sound! Euphonium and A Silent Voice, their works boast a fluidity and express...
review

Perfect World GN 1

This love story between a disabled young man and his old crush broaches its subject matter with sensitivity and heart. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― We see plenty of romances with emotionally disabled protagonists, but precious few with physical disabilities. In the romance novel world, author Mary Balogh began writing books with such heroes, but manga has been slow to catch up (as have other ...
review

The Morose Mononokean BD+DVD

This heartwarming yokai adventure series isn't much for melodrama or spectacle, but it's got plenty of heart where it counts. James Beckett weighs in on its unassuming charms. ― If I had to pick any one word to describe the experience of watching The Morose Mononokean, it would probably be “cute”. From beginning to end, this is a gentle story revolving around two mismatched friends who make their liv...
review

Infinite Dendrogram Novels 3 & 4

Things heat up when Dryfe attacks Altar again - and Ray's friends turn out to be much more than they appear. Rebecca Silverman gets back into this VRMMO adventure. ― We readers have been aware that another major conflict between Dryfe and Altar has been brewing since volume one of Sakon Kaido's Infinite Dendrogram novel series. That makes it easy to forget that our protagonist Ray Starling hasn't had...
review

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens—Episodes 1-12 streaming

This action and intrigue story starring an eclectic ensemble of assassins slipped under the radar last season, but Theron Martin is down to discover whether it's worth checking out in hindsight. ― The title of this light novel adaptation refers to a baseball team that most of the recurring characters play for, but that isn't evident until about a third of the way through the series' 12-episode run. (...
review

Bungo Stray Dogs Season One Limited Edition BD+DVD

This melodramatic action series with a uniquely literary hook might be less than the sum of its parts, but at least it has another season ahead to help find its feet. Lynzee Loveridge has the details. ― If you'd told me at age 14 that there was an anime series starring famous literary authors with superpowers based on their works, I would have died. Bungo Stray Dogs' premise taps into a very specific...
review

After the Rain—Episodes 1-12

This romantic dramedy turns its potentially thorny premise into a thoughtful meditation on rekindling your passion for life. Nick Creamer breaks down what makes this series so special. ― It'd be easy to skim After the Rain's premise and dismiss it as pure exploitation. “High school girl falls in love with her manager in his '40s” feels designed to cater to male fantasies, and even if framed with grea...
review

Blame! Blu-ray

In spite of its visual and narrative hiccups, Blame! succeeds as an intriguing sci-fi thriller with a breathtaking setting. Nick Creamer has the details. ― It might seem like the apparent partnership between mangaka Tsutomu Nihei and CG studio Polygon Pictures is something of a monkey's paw situation for fans of Nihei's manga. After all, his manga is defined above all else by its decaying, endlessly ...
review

Monster Hunter Stories RIDE ON Season One Part One

This kid-friendly monster adventure may please the preschool set, but it's hard to see older fans of the franchise getting much out of it. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Spun off from the Monster Hunter game franchise's Stories game, Monster Hunter Stories RIDE ON is very squarely aimed at a young audience. That's not because it features a core group of twelve-year-olds as its protagonists, but...
review

PTSD Radio GNs 1-2

This daring and unique horror anthology offers outstanding thrills that can be a little disorienting. Lynzee Loveridge gets into the nitty-gritty of this unusual series. ― Samson's long hair gave him the unsurpassed strength. Scottish folklore dictates that if a bird steals your cut hair for nesting, it means your imminent death. Long, cascading hair is wildly associated with femininity and the subje...
review

Kase-san and an Apron GN

This sweet yet relatable yuri series continues as the girls' relationships deepen and come into greater conflict. Rebecca Silverman gets into the good stuff. ― Time marches on, and with it comes new worries. The previous volume of Hiromi Takashima's Kase-san and… yuri series had the girls coping with the idea of being separated after they graduate from high school – Yamada had always planned to follo...
review

Hunter × Hunter: Phantom Rouge BD/DVD

This movie offers a pleasant but nonessential side quest for anyone who misses spending time with the Hunter x Hunter gang. Nick Creamer has the details. ― With the Hunter x Hunter manga on consistent hiatus and the future of its anime adaptation even less certain, an anime-original tie-in film like Phantom Rouge can feel almost like a kind of narrative life support. I love Gon and Killua and their f...
review

Keijo!!!!!!!! Limited Edition BD/DVD

This absurd action comedy about the most fanservice-fueled sport in the world is finally available in a limited edition stuffed with goodies. James Beckett dives into the curvaceous world of Keijo!!!!!!!! ― To determine whether or not to invest time and money in Keijo!!!!!!, you need only to ask yourself if you like: Exceedingly silly and completely over-the-top sports showdowns Animated boobs Animat...
review

My-Otome Complete Series BD/DVD

This sequel to My-HiME isn't as beloved as its predecessor, but it still has plenty of its own charm to offer. Theron Martin has the details. ― My-Otome is the 2005 follow-up to 2004's My-HiME. For most of its run, it appears to be an alternate-world version of My-HiME, where the original cast is transplanted into a new setting but with different lesser roles, but details later in the series' run sug...
review

Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple

The Gifted's supernatural abilities separate from their bodies for a Yokohama battle royale in Bungo Stray Dogs' theatrical debut! Lynzee Loveridge breaks down the highs and lows of this big-screen experience. ― Homeowners insurance in Yokohama must be exorbitant, because it seems like the place is always on the brink of caving in on itself. In the series' last installment, it was killer mind-control...
review

Queen's Quality GN 1

Supernatural shenanigans abound in this renamed continuation of Kyosuke Motomi's QQ Sweeper. Rebecca Silverman sums it up. ― Queen's Quality volume one could easily be called QQ Sweeper volume four – it picks up directly where Kyousuke Motomi's previous series left off. That's certainly not a bad thing for fans of the author, whose other English-language works include Dengeki Daisy and Beast Master, ...
review

Little Hero eBook 2

This isekai story does things a little differently by putting a little girl in the role of the hero. Rebecca Silverman digs into this unique volume. ― Isekai has never been a male demographic-exclusive genre, although most of the titles to be translated into English might make you think so. (Unless, of course, you're old enough to remember Fushigi Yugi and From Far Away.) Wakasa's Little Hero is a ni...
review

Fire Punch GN 1

This stomach-turning, head-spinning, post-apocalyptic revenge saga is not for the faint of heart. Theron Martin finds out if this hot-button adventure manga is worth reading. ― It's hard to find a post-apocalyptic story much darker than this new offering from Viz Media. Anyone interested in checking this first volume out should be aware that the explicit content label is absolutely not an overstateme...
review

Again!! GN 1

The co-creator of Yuri on Ice is back with the tale of a high school kid who gets a supernatural chance to do it all over again - and this time, he's determined to join the cheer club. ― High school occupies a special place in pop culture, both eastern and western. Despite the fact that for many of us it hardly lives up to the hype of “the best days of your life,” those three or four years at childho...
review

Advance Review: Liz and the Blue Bird

The acclaimed director of A Silent Voice is back with an astonishingly gorgeous and surprisingly touching coming-of-age film set in the beautiful and nostalgic world of Sound! Euphonium. ― Sound! Euphonium began in 2013 as a novel focused on the lives of the newest members of a once prestigious high school brass band club and their subsequent fight to restore it to its former glory. Since then, the f...
review

Kiznaiver Blu-Ray

Kiznaiver is a gorgeous and heartfelt science-fiction romp well worth taking, so long as you're willing to bear with a handful of speedbumps along the way. James Beckett takes a look at this series' release on blu-ray with an English dub. ― Studio Trigger officially burst onto the TV anime scene with 2013's popular and controversial hit, Kill la Kill. Over the past half-decade, Trigger has made a nam...
review

Sword Gai: The Animation

Netflix's newest sword-driven gorefest doesn't quite deliver what its premise promises. Theron Martin details what went wrong. ― Sword Gai the Animation is the latest Netflix Original ONA series. It's based on a manga by Toshiki Inoue, a long-time anime script writer whose credits include the likes of Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball, Galaxy Angel, and Ushio & Tora; he also wrote this anime version of his mang...
review

Yume Nikki - I Am Not in Your Dream Novel

The deeply unsettling cult smash PC game is adapted as a chilling, brain-twisting light novel - Rebecca Silverman may never dream the same again. ― Dreams are among the most difficult stories to relate. To the dreamer, they seem utterly fascinating and replete with important symbols and information. To their unfortunate audience, they often feel like boring nonsense tales, to be suffered through with...
review

Kenka Bancho Otome: Love's Battle Royale GN 1

Roundhouse kick your way to romance with this otome game adaptation about a girl disguised as a boy fighting her own love interests! Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Kenka Bancho Otome: Love's Battle Royale is the manga adaptation of the otome game of the same name, and some of you may already be familiar with it from its 2017 anime version. As you might guess, the story is a reverse harem where ...
review

Laid-Back Camp GN 1

With its slow pace and surprisingly layered characters, Laid-Back Camp makes off-season camping look fun. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Like many people who live in areas popular with tourists, Rin has it all figured out: she enjoys camping, but she prefers to do so in the off season. That's when she's more likely to be able to have the campgrounds to herself to truly enjoy views of Mount Fuji...
review

REVIEW: Big Fish & Begonia

This epic fantasy film twelve years in the making combines the talents of Chinese artists and Studio Mir into an unforgettable experience. Michelle Liu explores what this film meant to Chinese audiences and offers to anime fans as well. ― According to director Liang Xuan, the image of a fish rising to the sky first came to him in a dream. That's a good place to start when processing the film that ima...
review

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress BD/DVD

This hyperviolent zombie-hunting adventure from Studio Wit might bear a striking resemblance to Attack on Titan, but it also offers plenty of entertainment on its own merits. James Beckett has the details. ― The comparisons between Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and Attack on Titan were inveitable from the get-go, and not just because both projects were animated by Studio Wit and spearheaded by direct...
review

Yuri!!! on ICE Limited Edition BD+DVD

The biggest hit anime of 2016 finally comes to blu-ray! Jacob Chapman breaks down the limited edition release and what makes this story of love on ice so enduring. ― "Don't stop us now! The moment of truth! We were born to make history!" Back before Yuri!!! on Ice aired, this bold declaration in its opening theme was subject to an understandable degree of snickering. The song was adorably catchy, and...
review

Children of the Whales

While there's beauty and intrigue to be found in its presentation, this ambitious fantasy series on Netflix may be less than the sum of its parts. Theron Martin investigates. ― This 12-episode adaptation of Abi Umeda's source manga is advertised as a Netflix Original Series, even though it actually aired in Japan during the Fall 2017 season. Regardless of technicalities, Netflix has finally delivered...
review

Dragon Half [Omnibus] GN 1

This classic fantasy comedy series from 1989 is finally available in English for the first time, but have its humor and artwork aged gracefully? Rebecca Silverman finds out. ― Anime fans of a certain age will remember the 2000 release of the two-episode Dragon Half anime even if they didn't find it particularly funny, because it marks one of the most bizarre stories many of us had experienced at the ...
review

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Novel 5

Grimgar's fifth novel introduces a new setting, but the most of the important action takes place inside Haruhiro's head. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Although it may not be strictly true, this feels like the first volume of Ao Jyumonji's Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash where the entire story isn't overshadowed by death. There's grave peril to be sure, and the threat of death looms ever-present, bu...
review

Sanrio Boys—Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Despite a strong first half, Sanrio Boys falls prey to product placement and plot cliches in its second. Rebecca Silverman weighs the pros and cons of this rather commercial comedy. ― Sanrio Boys, the latest marketing scheme from the seemingly endless Sanrio company of mascot characters, at first seemed all set to defy expectations. Despite the obvious product placement, the story's first half revolv...
review

91 Days Complete Series BD/DVD

This period drama about revenge and betrayal in the mob pays thoughtful tribute to its various genre influences. Rebecca Silverman discusses this series' unusual ambitions. ― Rarely has 1928 America been so well captured in anime as it is in the gangster drama 91 Days. Given that history in fiction is so often romanticized, that's saying a lot – you only have to compare the basics of this show with G...
review

New Game! Season 1 BD/DVD

New Game! offers an occasionally awkward but largely charming mix of game dev office drama and slice of life shenanigans. Nick Creamer has the details. ― The animation studio Dogakobo have built a sturdy reputation over the years predicated on two central qualities: their regularly top-shelf character animation, and their clear preference for slice of life shows, and warm comedies in general. From Yu...
review

A.I.C.O. -Incarnation-

This sci fi action thriller on Netflix is conceptually ambitious, but is it entertaining? Theron Martin finds out if Studio Bones' latest is worth watching. ― This 12-episode ONA series is another of Netflix's original productions, this time in conjunction with Studio Bones. Like B: The Beginning, it was released in its entirety on Netflix exclusively, with subtitles and dubs in multiple languages. B...
review

All Out!! BD/DVD Part 1

If you're looking for muscular guys tackling each other in the dirt, All Out more than has you covered, but don't expect to learn a lot about rugby. Rebecca Silverman weighs in on this meaty show. ― If there's one thing All Out does well, it's showcase a variety of male body types. There's a wonderful lack of uniformity to the way the show's nearly all-male cast is drawn: different heights, different...
review

Mermaid Boys GN 1

The Little Mermaid gets a makeover in this fun romantic comedy about a merman prince who falls in love with a human girl. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Hans Christian Andersen's literary fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” has to an extent been eclipsed by its 1989 Walt Disney counterpart, but the base tale remains the same: young mermaid falls in love at first sight with a human prince, trades he...
game review

REVIEW: Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet

This run-and-gun RPG for the PS4 allows SAO fans to interact with all their favorite characters in a brand-new story. But is it fun to play? Branden Johnson finds out. ― Unpopular opinion time: my least favorite arc in Sword Art Online was Gun Gale Online. Not that it was bad, just that it felt lacking compared to the two storylines that preceded it. So my expectations going into Sword Art Online: Fa...
review

Dragon Ball Super Part Two Blu-ray

The Resurrection F arc delivers a flurry of fights and a few new transformations, but is the story actually memorable underneath the nostalgia factor? Sam Leach weighs in. ― With the Japanese broadcast of Dragon Ball Super nearing its finale, there's some new perspective to be had from revisiting its early days. I remember when these initial movie remake arcs were airing, and it felt like we'd never ...
review

Fate/Grand Order First Order Blu-Ray

Is this curious one-off story in the Fate canon worth your time? Gabriella Ekens weighs the pros and cons of this partial mobile game adaptation. ― If you're a fan of the Fate franchise, and maybe even if you aren't, you've probably heard of Fate/Grand Order. This mobile game is a recent installment in fate canon has been doing quite well for itself in both Japan and abroad, so it's no wonder that th...
game review

Ni no Kuni II:Revenant Kingdom

It took 8 years for a Ni no Kuni sequel to finally surface, and now that it's here, there's both good news and bad for this lavish Studio Ghibli-esque action RPG. ― Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was a bit too traditional for me. As a lover of RPGs and the films of Hayao Miyazaki, I figured it would be right up my alley. An RPG that looks and sounds like a real Studio Ghibli film is basically a...
review

Robot Carnival Blu-ray

The classic 1987 anthology film finally comes to blu-ray, with a staggering amount of extras for diehard fans. Daryl Surat has the details. ― Many classic anime fans refer to a “golden age” of Japanese animation that roughly coincided with the peak of Japan's bubble economy from the 1980s through early 1990s, and perhaps no single title sums up that ideal more succinctly than 1987's Robot Carnival. E...
review

Love Live! Sunshine!! Season One BD/DVD

Love Live Sunshine maintains the goofy appeal of its predecessor while simultaneously struggling to escape its shadow. Nick Creamer finds out how this next generation of idols stacks up to the original hit-makers. ― How do you follow up a megahit? After the first season of Love Live turned into a sales juggernaut, Sunrise initially followed it with a second season that was essentially “Love Live, but...
review

Space Patrol Luluco BD/DVD

This uneven but often charming journey into first love and hot-blooded justice has finally arrived on blu-ray! Nick Creamer has the details on Imaishi's bite-sized creation. ― Hiroyuki Imaishi's name is almost synonymous with the Studio Trigger brand. After providing dynamic key animation and highlights like FLCL's manga sequences early in his career, he became the flagship director for Gainax's last...
review

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

As the first novel in this spinoff series to go beyond the anime adaptation, this is recommended reading for transitioning between the two versions. Theron Martin explores this new content. ― With volume 5, the Sword Oratoria novel series mostly passes beyond the end of its anime adaptation, picking up as Loki Familia is returning to the surface from the climactic events of the anime's final episode;...
game review

GAME REVIEW: Attack on Titan 2

This sequel to the first action game in the franchise from KOEI-TECMO and Omega Force makes significant improvements on its predecessor, but is it worth a purchase? Heidi Kemps has the answers. ― Omega Force's record with anime and manga adaptations is a bit spotty. We've had disappointments like Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, but we've also had some real win...
review

REVIEW: Free! -Take Your Marks-

After almost four years adrift on the tides, the boys of eternal summer are back with new adventures in advance of Free! season three this summer. Jacob Chapman dives into this theatrical continuation. ― You know that sequence of heartwarming, lightly comedic images that flashed by during the credits of Free! Eternal Summer's final episode? We saw Makoto and Haruka studying together in college, Nagis...
review

B: The Beginning

Netflix's new action-packed series boasts an ambitious combo of crime procedural and supernatural epic, but can it combine those elements into a cohesive story? Theron Martin finds out. ― B: The Beginning is a collaboration between Netflix and Production I.G. that was originally advertised in early 2016 as "Perfect Bones". This name change is definitely for the best, since the final version of the st...
review

Clockwork Planet Novel 1

Clockwork Planet's reputation may have taken a hit after its sub-par anime adaptation, but this first novel proves that the story still has promise. Rebecca Silverman has the details. ― Falling somewhere between steampunk and straight science fiction, Clockwork Planet's inaugural novel introduces a quartet of not-quite-heroes who are a blend of tropes and fun. Co-written by the author of No Game, No ...
review

Ace Attorney BD/DVD Part 1

Ace Attorney offers a fun story and characters, but its lack of ambition holds it back from being as good as fans of the game might have hoped. Rebecca Silverman explores what went wrong. ― Fiction is under no obligation to be faithful to real life. That's why it's “fiction,” right? In the case of Ace Attorney, that's a good thing to remember, because even if you've only ever seen two episodes of Law...

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