Lately, I have been watching the original 90’s Sailor Moon anime series just for the nostalgia. That said, if you take into account the story telling and animation, this series (although doesn’t really hold up in this day and age) is one of the most cleaver animated shows. Being able to do drama, as well as comedy and deliver it with perfection is rare, something that anime shows which are made now are missing. Sailor Moon Super S was one of the seasons that a lot of fans tend to avoid, but I want to say that this is the season everyone should be watching. With the recent release by Madman Entertainment with the new English Dub, we are going to take a look at some of the best episodes from Sailor Moon Super S.
This for me was one, if not the best episode of Sailor Moon Super S. So basically Minako (Sailor Venus) is dating two guys at the same time. Of course, Minako thinks she’s able to date two both men and get away with it….only problem is when she has a date with both boys at the same time. The comedy aspects and animation is absolutely hilarious and leaves you in stiches from laughing so damn much. The best scene from this whole episode is Minako explaining the situation to her friends in the café.
Rei suddenly develops celebrity status as being the shrine maiden that has the best love charms. This as a results ends up with a girl who wants to be like her ‘idol’ Rei. The episode is a great way to show it is important to be what you want to be and not something that you are not. The episode has a lot of comedy, but it is balanced with a lot of heart as well. A very well constructed episode.
This is a great episode that deals with the theme of friendship. Jealously and selfishness are the catalyst for Minako and Mokoto friendship to hit a snag. The realisation that they are better and more powerful together than apart is told throughout the episode. You see the destruction and re-build all in one episode. It is a favourite of mine because Sailor Moon/Usagi kind of takes a step back from being the central focus of this episode. Did I also mention that this episode is absolutely hilarious with Minako bringing the comedy factor throughout.
Ah yes, my favourite episode. So in this one Usagi and the girls are studying at Mamoru’s apartment when due to some rather unforeseen circumstances Mamoru’s apartment gets absolutely destroyed. Rei suggests that Mamoru stays at her shrine as they have lots of room, which of course does not go well with Usagi, given the past between Rei and Mamoru. The episode is hilarious with Usagi trying to ‘protect’ Mamoru from Rei by becoming a ninja of love, and Rei walking in on Mamoru naked. Absolutely ridiculous but absolutely brilliant.
There are so many great episodes of Super S that I would love to talk about more, but these four episodes, even if you haven’t seen any of the previous eps are good stand alone episodes. As I said this is a great season of 90’s Sailor Moon. Got an AnimeLab account, well…I have linked the episodes for your viewing pleasure.
Well, what a year it was for anime in 2017. Arguably a very simple year in regards to anime, there were a few stand outs that took our breath away. It’s always hard when you go back and reflect on the year that it was in regards to anime; the year where we had some unbelievable shows and some that were absolutely rubbish, fans were given many options and choices on shows. For me, there was a lot of good that easily could overtake the terrible. I found this decision of picking the top five a very hard one. Some shows in my original top ten could have easily taken the spot of number one, but in the end I had to stick to what was the draw factor for the shows for me originally that would place them in that top ten. I narrowed that top ten down, and picked the best five shows of 2017. So here we go with the top five Anime of 2017:
5. My Hero Academia Two
Now, I wasn’t a die hard fan after season one. Sure, I liked it and was one show I did enjoy watching as a simulcast originally, but I will admit that I wasn’t very impressed with season one. That all changed when season two came along. This show was so captivating week after week, and the dub as well was just perfect. The heart and strengths this show has in comparison to shows such as Attack on Titan made me want to watch week after week and not get bored. I felt connected with characters and I was just blown away with so many moments throughout the season. If left me craving more when we got to the end of season two. I love the message this show has, that you can be what you want to be if you try hard and work hard for it.
4. Ancient Magus Bride
Tale as old as time….song as old as song…..Wait this isn’t Disney.
However, this is definitely a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ type of story with a very pure and meaningful love developing between two beings. This show is special. The animation and delivery of the story makes this one not to be missed. The story of a girl who is essentially bought to be the bride of a being who has no idea of the human conventions and trying to find their own place in our world as well as their own…whatever it is exactly. Every week I look forward to watching and it is just getting better and better as the story is continued to being explored.
3. Little Witch Academia
If anyone knows me they will know full well that one of my favourite anime animation studios is Studio TRIGGER. This was one of the most anticipated series of 2017 and it did not fail to disappoint. Where the OVA/Movies allowed us to become apart of this magical world, the anime series just took it on another level. We learn the secrets that ultimately shock viewers but at the same time give the story a depth. I loved everything about this, from the witty plot, the animation and characters this one is my go to anime whenever I am feeling down. There is such a powerful message underlying the story that you can’t help but be swept away with it. This is one of those shows where I just want to remain a part of their world and learn more and more about them.
2. Scum’s Wish
This was my personal favourite from last year. The drama we as anime fans did not deserve. It literally hit every note that needed to be hit. ‘Scum’s wish’ was that show where there was not one good person to support or back, yet you were drawn to their problems and situations. The characterisation was by far the best I have seen in recent years and has left me wanting more. It ended as it should, granted I wasn’t too thrilled but it made sense. This was not a light hearted anime, and it did make you question whether or not what these characters were doing was the right thing, but it was that show that made you look at your own personal life and relationships and see some sort of common trend. It was very real.
1. Made in Abyss
This was the show to end all shows last year. Admittedly, I was turned off the show originally as the animation wasn’t what I was used to. When friends of mine told me I had to give this show a shot, I sat down over two days and binged watched it. I was completely blown away. I have never felt the way I did after watching this show. I was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted after watching. The characters and their stories were just the most beautiful, yet tragically heartbreaking that your own hearts would break. The strong points were the ethical and cultural reasoning being put to question. Death is also a major factor and what happens to someone when they just leave you for good. This show, with the depth of story, animation and the most incredible soundtrack is definitely the show I will recommend to everyone. It is not the easiest show to watch, but if you are an anime fan it is one you need to watch at least once in your life.
So there you have it, Like I said it was a very hard to come up with these choices but I feel justified that these are without question the best of what 2017 has to offer. We are always curious as to what made your top picks from last year, let us know! We cannot wait to see what 2018 has to offer, and judging with the recent season, we know we are in for a treat!
If you were to say a few year back “You are going to watch an anime about male cheerleaders and love it!” I probably would have laughed in your face. Fast forward to now and here I am smiling and just loving all these boys. “Cheer Boys” to me was an underrated hit in 2016. Granted this show came out at a time when there were some massive anime to compete with, this show flew under the radar.
The story is simple enough, a slice of life anime focusing on college boys who decide to start a cheer squad. Every episode is just so witty and charming with each boy having their own story to tell. Haruki, our main character was born into a family of Judo Martial artists who was expected to follow the footsteps of his family decides to join up with his best friend and start up a cheer squad. The squad grows progressively through the episodes.
What I love about this show is the heart warming moments. The show manages to deliver these moments in such a way that is not only captivating for the audience, but makes you connect on a personal level with these characters. The strength of this show is also the dub, Funimation had control over this dub, and while I’m somewhat skeptical of simuldubs (this was one of the 2016 shows that was simulcast dubbed) and the quality they produce, this series seemed to have nailed it. The English VAs are just as if not better than their Japanese counterparts.
If I was to compare this series with another, I am constantly reminded of Love Live/Love Live sunshine, only with very pretty boys. Their stories and troubles/triumphs are very similar to how Love Live told their story. The animation is also nice and clean and rather enjoyable to watch. Of course, even though this is considered a slice of life anime I can’t help but classify this one as a sports anime. You watch this show and all you want to do is get out there and train at a gym, get fit.
I can’t help but love this series. From when I first watched it in 2016, to now it’s one of those shows that has a lot of heart and makes you feel motivated; mentally, emotionally and physically *I love it when an anime can do that!*
“Cheer Boys” is available right now on DVD. For more information click the DVD image below! However you can’t wait and need to check out the show right now, you can stream it and watch it for free thanks to the good folk at AnimeLab by clicking the AL picture link below as well!
Ever watch an anime and felt like questioning your own personal existence? I felt like that just recently watching ‘Kokoro Connect’
So a couple of nights ago I was scanning through the dub catalogue on ‘HiDive’ the new anime streaming service from Sentai Filmworks that has hit the scene and I was curious to see what titles they had available for international audiences. I will admit I am extremely impressed with what is available for fans to enjoy. Like AnimeLab this streaming service is completely user friendly and gives fans a good back catalogue of dub titles.
So on my lookout for something to watch I came across ‘Kokoro Connect’ and I was somewhat intrigued. So I got started on the series and from the first two episodes I was completely and totally hooked.
The anime premiered in 2012 producing 13 episodes that was directly simulcasted and four more episodes (OVAS) that were released after. The story involved five high school friends who are club members of the ‘Student Cultural Club’. However a supernatural being going under the name ‘Heartseed’ who takes up host in the club’s teaching representative Mr Goto creates phenomenons for the club members to test their friendships and themselves on a personal level.
Sounds confusing? It does seem ridiculously far fetched, however the plot moves along and you become drawn to the characters within the story. Each main character is a reflection of what the average teenager growing up in high school would be. But what this anime decides to do is show that not everything is as it seems and that there is always more to each person on a deeper level. We see that not everything is perfect and normal, that people can have issues or struggling in silence and no one would have any idea about it. It is an anime that forces the audience to open their eyes and reflect.
What was a draw card for me was that throughout this journey of learning about each other and developing a strong friendship is that these friends were put through a test to see whether or not their friendships were strong enough and that they themselves were just as strong personally. It also makes you think ethically about situations. One in particular where the friends had to decide whether or not they would let their friend die or would they take their place. It purposefully shows the strength that a person would have to go through to even come up with that particular decision.
In terms of animation and soundtrack, this anime just got it. The subtle comedy and drama intertwines beautifully and the pacing of the show makes sure it covers what it needs to cover. I love that this had a solid ending and that any loose ends would be cleared up by the very last episode. I won’t go into too much of a spoiler however I believe this was one show that managed to leave me completely satisfied with its ending.
So if you love shows that challenge your own perceptions, has a bit of drama, some silly moments and great characterisation and animation then this is the show for you. If you are a dub fan I highly recommend it as you have the likes of Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, Luci Christian and Emily Neves just to name a few lending their voices to this dub. They give the characters a life that they deserve.
I definitely will go back and watch this series again because I feel I have missed some important points but also because the show has a charm that I was not expecting. I would give this show a 4.5/5 purely because I just enjoyed it and found myself binging on episodes because I just wanted to find out more.
The show is available on dvd and blu ray from Hanabee but can be streamed right now on HiDive and Crunchyroll.
So there was going to come a time where for ‘Anime Rewind’ I would take a look at a dub. Firstly, I just want to say I love dubs, they are great. Of course naturally they aren’t everyones cup of tea and way to watch an anime, but for myself personally I like being able to completely engage myself in a show without having the need to read subtitles. Now the common argument is that ‘There aren’t any good dubs!’ or ‘Dub voice actors just don’t get the characters at all’ and while I can see that point of view it would be completely wrong if I didn’t recognise some extremely well produced/written dubs. For me there is one dub that will always remain in my top ten dub list forever, that show being ‘Toradora!’.
Produced by J.C Staff, who are responsible for producing anime titles such as ‘Prison School’, ‘Food Wars’, ‘Golden Time’ and the ridiculous ‘Shimoneta’ came ‘Toradora!’ a 25 episode production adapted from the light novel by the same name. Under the direction of Tatsuyuki Nagai (Mobile Suit Gundam IBO) and the legendary screenwriter Mari Okada (Black Butler) this show ran on Tv Tokyo in the years of 2008/2009. As an anime fan who absolutely adores a majority of J.C Staff works I knew that this show was special before I was going to watch it. The animation and general direction of the anime is the underlying story teller, managing to connect the audience to lots of significant scenes and moments throughout the series.
The general plot itself is what you would expect from a ‘Slice of Life/Romantic drama’ anime. We follow the life of Ryuji Takasu, a high school boy who lives with his not-so-with it single mother that results in poor Ryuji acting as the ‘man of the household’. Things for Ryuji get complicated when his neighbour, the fiery Taiga Aisaka becomes a pain in his side, but also a friend that he can rely on. As luck would have it Ryuji has a crush on Taiga’s best friend Minori Kushieda, and alternatively Taiga has feelings for Ryuji’s best friend Yusaku Kitamura. Ryuji and Taiga work together to help each other out in order to fulfil their romantic desires. However, as all good anime would have it introduces the not-so-nice girl Ami Kawashima, a childhood friend of Yasaku who has been a model but now has returned to school, who has slowly shown interest in Ryuji. As time progresses Ryuji and Taiga develop feelings for each other and life situations and complications enter making it impossible.
What makes this particular show stand out from the rest is the depth of the plot. It manages to make you relate to characters and connect yourself to them and the situation that they might be facing. The anime tackles lots of real life complicated issues that teenagers would have definitely dealt with when they were growing up. The pacing of the show makes it very easy to watch, even if it is 25 episodes. As I am reviewing the dub version the voice actors that are the main characters (Erik Scott Kimerer, Cassandra Lee Morris, Christine Marie Cabanos, Johnny Yong Bosch and Erika Harlacher) managed to capture each characters personality and portray them in the way that they are meant to be portrayed. Not wanting to take away the talent from the Japanese V.As, however the Dub V.As just seem to get it in regards to the emotions and general vibe of each character.
This show is special. There is something so light hearted and warm about it that it is one of those series that I just have to watch every year without fail. The characters are beyond gorgeous and the story is captivating. It has the right amount of comedy to make you laugh out loud, but also enough drama to make you cry and let your emotions run wild. The ending just makes you scream for more, even after watching 25 episodes. I personally don’t give out lots of full marks for my reviews, however for this show it is impossible not to.
Late one evening I got extremely frustrated thinking ‘What articles could I possibly come up with for Japandaman?’ I was struggling to find my writing muse and I was somewhat getting tired of reading reviews of the latest anime that hasn’t even been out for three weeks. Already the ‘experts’ are chiming in claiming what we all should be and should not be watching. So I decided to turn on my television and not watch anime and just see what else was on. As I was searching through the smart TV apps I came across one called ‘Viewster’, naturally of course my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to look through the app to see if there was anything of interest on it. To my surprise this app was designed for gamers and anime fans alike. The anime catalogue was surprising, having a lot of classic/mid 00’s anime series in complete all for free. This is where I had that lightbulb moment, I thought ‘Hey Farrah, why don’t you do an anime review series on shows that we seem to have forgotten like the classics that people might not have seen?’ Thus, ‘Anime Rewind’ is born. A new review series from myself where I will look back at anime that might have slipped the cracks and give my opinion on whether or not to watch it.
I start my first review on ‘Bokura Ga Ita’ or as known in English ‘We were there’.
The story itself is a love story. We are introduced to Nanami Takahashi, a teenage girl who is starting her first year of high school who wants to make as many friends as she can. She comes across Motoharu Yano, the popular boy at school. Nanami absolutely detests him as he is completely superficial and so full of himself. As time goes on Nanami develops feelings for Motoharu and in return so does he for Nanami. The pair are in love but the circumstances surrounding their relationship is influential to whether or not their love could survive. Motoharu, still deeply affected from his ex-girlfriend death had become the base of all the issues that he is facing. The anime deals with first love, depression, relationship drama, death and much, much more.
The animation style is unique. Although it is not to the standard that majority of anime is like today, the style has its own way of telling the story. This might not be to the taste of many anime fans, however I really enjoyed the completely different style that this anime managed to take. The soundtrack is the winning factor for me. The music itself manages to tell the story and captivate the viewer. I found myself many times going onto YouTube just so I can go and listen to the soundtrack over and over again. The depth of the story and the characters is amazing. There is no other way I can describe it other than that. This was the first anime series in a very long time to take me on an emotional journey. I found myself drawn to the characters and felt their pain and sadness from the situations that they were facing. It is definitely the anime to make you feel. It will make you cry, it will make you emotional drained, but if that is your thing than this is definitely the anime for you. If I had to compare it to an anime series it is on par with ‘Your lie in April’ however this one actually makes you feel like you have been stabbed in the heart with a knife.
Definitely give this anime a go, if you are looking for something that will make you cry and something on the romantic side, then this is the one for you. The series is a long one with about 25 episodes. It anime does unfortunately end at the end of their high school journey, but the remaining story is continued in the form of the manga and also live action film (which was absolutely amazing). The anime can be found on the free mobile/smart TV app ‘Viewster’ and its free.