Category Archives: First Impressions

MadFest Brisbane ’18: Why it was the party of the Year!

I know I am jumping the gun by claiming that this event is the ‘Party of the Year’ in June, but that is exactly how I feel, and really still feeling. MadFest Brisbane 2018 has left the greatest impression on me. It was such an incredible convention that because I was so busy having fun, I actually didn’t get much footage. I do have some videos, which gives a little taste of what the event was like.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC6FLb5T3PE[/embedyt]

So I thought I would give my top five moments of MadFest Brisbane..

The Cosplayers

Oh my goodness didn’t Brisbane go all out this year. The amount of cosplayers in comparison to last year was unbelievable. Nearly 70% of the crowd was in cosplay and it was just awesome. I noticed that so many people were going up to other people and complimenting each other on their craft, taking pics and just having fun with it. What was really impressive was how talented people are making these costumes. When it comes to cosplay at a con, Brisbane has really set the benchmark as this being the con to show off and have fun with the cosplay.

The Guests

This to me was one of the big motivations for me to travel across from the other side of the country was indeed the guests. Having J Michael Tatum and Yui Ishikawa as the voice over guests and their entertaining panels/Q&A with the fans was a real treat. Tatum’s panels were hilarious and Ishikawa’s was wonderful. My favourite guests were indeed the cosplay guests, in particular BaoBao, the international cosplay guest who was by far one of the nicest people around. It was fantastic for the fans to be able to meet these guests and have some time interacting with them, particularly Tatum with him participating in the Black Butler fan group photoshoot and BaoBao spending time chatting and interacting with fans.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohPj6BtXXv4[/embedyt]

The Atmosphere.

IT WAS ELECTIRC!! I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it was. It legitimately felt like we were all at one big party celebrating anime. Everyone was welcoming, friendly and kind to each other. The real party atmosphere happened on Sunday were people were more than happy to get up and dance. The amount of random dance gatherings that just happened with heaps of random people is something I have not seen at a con in well ever. People were making friends, inviting people to join in conversations, looking out for each other, being extremely supportive of dance acts when they were on the stage. For me, I truly hope that this is something that carries over into all the other MadFest events because Brisbane has shown us what fun can be like at a con.

Click here to see some of the random dancing 

The Movie Screenings

Weren’t we all the lucky ones that were able to attend these screenings, in particular Maquia. It was a full house with everyone just there to enjoy the film. There is something about being in a crowd with all anime fans watching a film, there is nothing like it. The screenings have become a real must go to event for me when I attend a MadFest event.

The Hospitality 
The staff and volunteers of MadFest deserve a medal for putting on such an incredible event, making sure that it ran smoothly and according to script. Although we don’t see what is happening behind the scenes, what was delivered to us, the fans was just perfect. Volunteers were kind and very helpful and the staff were more than happy to interact and engage with the patrons.

 

Anime fans of Australia, there is no excuse anymore. MadFest was an absolute blast, I am still suffering withdrawal from the event and legit counting down the days till September where I can be in Melbourne for the final one of 2018.

The bonds we share….Why you need to see ‘Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms’

There is something special about walking out of a screening full of emotion and constantly thinking about the film three days later, but here we are. Brisbane anime fans got the unique opportunity to be the first in the country to see the brand new film ‘Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms’ when it was shown at Madman Anime Festival. Admittedly, I wasn’t too keen to see it but something inside me said that I need to check this out. So, grabbing the last few tickets that were available for my friends and I (absolute packed house) we waited to see what the fuss was all about. The hype and buzz that this film had is completely justified. This is the first film from acclaimed screenwriter Mari Okada making this her directorial debut with this fantasy feature. If you are wondering why that name sounds familiar, she was screenwriter of a certain anime ‘Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day’. Just knowing that little knowledge, we were going to be jumping on a feels train.  

The people of Iorph have a lifespan of hundreds of years and maintain their teenage appearances for life, but when the peace of this town is shattered by those who want the secret to their longevity for themselves, a young girl named Maquia is forced to escape. Wandering the land alone, upon finding an orphaned baby she chooses to raise him, but as this boy grows up so the difference in their lifespans is thrown into ever-sharper relief.

The film starts off slow, quickly establishing the differences between the people of Iorph and humans. We are introduced to this world and these mythical humans (the Iorph people) and how they maintained long lifespans and being able to spin essentially the fabric of life. The humans want to be able to have this longevity and have tried to bring the two sides together. The Kingdom (where the humans reside) kidnap one of the Iorph females to become the wife of the Prince. This results in the destruction of the land where the Iorph people lived and all around. Maquia is a very young Iorphian, who learns very early on that life is unpredictable. She comes across a newborn boy and decides to become the orphans guardian. I won’t spoil the rest of the film as I firmly believe that if the plot was given the magic of this film will be lost.

What makes this film stand out is the themes that it essentially covers. It is a love story of a mother loving her child, a child loving their mother. It is the bond that two people build between each other that is true and pure. It was a very unique way to explore bonds between people as it is something that is rather relatable with everyone. Another theme that was covered was the concept of life and death. It was chilling at times the way the story was portrayed, however was able to explore the importance of living your life and accepting that death is a factor of life as well. You could even argue that this film explore the concept of the ‘circle of life’ and that everyone has a place within it. There were so many theme weaved within this story that it blew my mind. It looked at family, first love, politics, parental relationship and of course age.

Although at times I felt that the animation was sloppy, there were just breathtaking moments that can only be truly appreciated on the big screen. The emotional factors within this story was built up slowly, leaving viewers right at the end grabbing tissues. It is definitely a film that will leave a lasting impression on you. I still think about the scene where Maquia and Ariel (the adopted son) establish their bond as being parent and child, it is so raw and filled with unintended emotions that it would make the strongest of hearts melt with the feels.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEWvRqZQ0RU[/embedyt]

I cannot wait to see this movie again. I do feel it will be one that you will need to see at least three times because there is so much in it, but each viewing you will be rewarded.

I rate this movie * * * * (four out of five stars).

Easily one of the best anime movies I have seen since ‘Your Name’ and ‘A Silent Voice’.

The film premiers Australia wide on June 7. Don’t miss the opportunity to see it on the big screen.

 

 

“Life is just a gamble” Review of ‘Kakegurui’

Normally I don’t drop a review until I have watched the whole series, however seven episodes deep I can honestly say that I love this show. This week Netflix dropped their latest anime ‘Kakegurui’ onto their streaming service and it has been one that has been most anticipated by anime fans since late last year.  For me personally every episode leaves you craving more and more and it is bound to give you an adrenaline rush.

First and foremost it is a dark school anime. If you were looking for a simple slice of life anime or hell even just a simple school anime you might as well back away from this one right now. This is a show that is bound to screw with you mentally and make you feel incredibly anxious every time you watch. We as the viewers enter the world where hierarchy of socialism plays an important role in deciding your fate. The story revolves around a group of elite private high schoolers who run an underground gambling ring where wining or losing plays an important factor on what your social standing in society will be. Enters our main character Yumeko who has a gift of being able to read the most ridiculous plays by the other players and gets her thrills by ruining the other players.

There is one absolute rule in gambling — at the end of the day, there is a winner and a loser. The winner gains riches and prestige, while the loser is branded a failure and left with nothing. In the silence leading up to the moment that separates winners and losers, instincts are sharpened and desires reach the point of ecstasy. This is a harsh microcosm of life in a capitalist society. Why are people captivated by a world filled with risk? What lies beyond the madness? As the class system of modern society crumbles, an unprecedented adrenaline-pumping anime sweeps the world.
~Netflix 2017

The strong points of this anime is that it does make you feel like you are experiencing a gambling rush and that you at times feel like you are in the game itself, it is a very tense show to watch. While there are many adult themes inserted within the show it is the gambling that is the driving factor. The animation is amazing. I don’t know what it is that I’m drawn to but it feels like it is also telling part of the story with its dark undertones and sharp characteristics. If I had to compare on similarities to another anime without a doubt it would be ‘Prison School’. What was a real selling point with this anime was the English dub and adaption. Erika Harlacher, Kira Buckland and Sarah Williams (Yumeko, Mary and Midari respectively) managed to capture the characters completely and give them the life that they deserve. If I had to be honest this show was probably the strongest performances to date from each. ‘Bang Zoom’ has to also be credited for producing such a quality dub.

I really, honestly truly love watching this show. I am so glad we are getting anime that is able to not only screw with your mind but also leave you craving more. I mentioned this earlier on social media that this show was legit ‘hell’ but fun, and that is honestly the best way to describe this show. Sinful at best. I rate this show 4/5.

“Kakegurui” is available right now on Netflix.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTlHQiRNVl0[/embedyt]

‘No going back!’ Review of “GATE Complete Series” DVD/Blu Ray release

This is a short review so apologies in advance but…

Have you ever watch an anime series and wonder why it got so much hate on the internet, this was me with GATE.

I went into this series blind. When I started to watch the series I thought ‘Well this is rather interesting’ and it managed to capture my interest. Everything about it was what an anime fan would like: Great characters, interesting plot, unique situation of a gate being the link between two worlds/universes, decent animation and a killer soundtrack. So when I went on my exploring on the anime sites it actually shocked me to see the amount of hate that this series received from many anime fans. I kept watching to find out what was the issue and frankly I couldn’t find one. The story was captivating and all I wanted to do was binge watch episodes all night (of course this was impossible).

When a mysterious gate suddenly appears in Tokyo’s Ginza district and begins spewing armed warriors and flying monsters, the world is thrown into turmoil. Although the deadly attack is thrown back by Japan’s Self Defence Force, there’s now a new and entirely unknown land on the other side of the portal, and Japan is effectively at war with a nation on the other side. Determined to secure peace, the JSDF must send an armed force into the Gate, but ogres, dragons and a ruthless Empire populated by elves, humans, and half-animal warriors aren’t the only dangers they’ll face. With the resources of two worlds at stake, the balance of power on both sides of the Gate is destabilizing, and betrayal can come at any time, from any quarter. There, trapped right in the middle of the ensuing firestorm, stands officer Yoji Itami and the JSDF’s Third Reconnaissance Team as they plunge into the GATE.
-Madman Website 

 


The winning factor for me was the English dub. ‘Sentai filmworks’ took this show and gave it a decent translating that was fun and close enough to the Japanese translation. While there are certain scene in the show that are questionable, it was easily ignored because everything else over rides the awkwardness. Is this one to watch with the whole family, probably not. That said it is definitely one to give a shot. I know I was left craving more towards the end. If you are a fan of ‘Sword Art Online’ and all things fantasy, or even military then this is the one for you.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3rJqoqk4gQ[/embedyt]

4/5 for me. I really enjoyed it and all I wanted was more.

 

If you are interested you are able to stream (Japanese sub only) right now on AnimeLab otherwise streaming the dub is indeed available on HiDive. Otherwise if you are like me, why don’t you pick up a copy from Madman entertainment. Links available on the pictures below:

 

      

Got an hour and forty minutes to kill? Review on Death Note (US) 2017…

The adaption that nobody asked for was finally released….

When I write a review about something I try to remain positive and optimistic. I try to see the good in a project and give it a fair go. I went into watching the new ‘Death Note’ film that has been released on Netflix on August 25th with an open mind. With that said my mind was blown as to how bad it was. It was just plain terrible.

Now, before I continue I must confess. Although I have seen a good majority of episodes, I have yet to complete ‘Death Note’ anime series. That said I know the characters and the general plot of the story where Light becomes the holder of the Death Note book and any name that is written in the book would face their untimely death.

Now this production was exactly what Netflix would produce, an over budget show filled with gore and sexual content. We start the film on such a confusing note, the main character Light Turner is an ‘edgy’ teen in a typical American high school that mysteriously ends up with a book that fell from the sky. I wish I was making that up but that is exactly what happens.

The pacing and general plot of the movie was so ridiculous when I was watching it I would be questioning my own sanity as to why I was still watching. The script was just bad. Some of the dialogue between the characters was just so ridiculous you felt as if you eyes would roll back so hard in your head. The characters in the film were just not what you would expect, particularly from the main leads, Light (Kira) and Mia. From what the film makes it out to be is that Light and Mia team up to use the Death Note to get rid of the scum, getting their thrills from doing this. It was just an odd development for the characters and completely unrealistic. It makes it even more insane towards the end of the movie. On note of the characters, the actor that plays Light/Kira was completely terrible. This movie could have had some sort of potential if they got an actor that could actually act. He was just bad. I can’t even be nice about it.

I want to rant and rant more about this movie, but it would be spoiling it for everyone. It is just not my cup of tea. It could have been a decent adaption for western audiences if they paid more attention to the script, plot devices, the main actor and general delivery of scenes. I was one of those people that crave more adaptions of anime to western screens, but if this is what they are putting out into the universe, just keep it. Was there anything redeeming in this film? Sure Willem Dafoe, the dude is damn scary and brilliant, only perfect casting choice in this film. Also the soundtrack was interesting. It took on a strange 80’s vibe which actually strangely fit the darkness that this film was trying to portray.

If you are a Death Note fan I strongly suggest you stay with the anime. If you are a casual fan what the hell give it a shot, but don’t go into watching this film thinking it will win any awards. It is a teen angst drama filled with sex and gore. It would be like if Twilight was given a budget.

I rate this 1/5.

Summer 2017: OUR TOP PICKS THIS ANIME SEASON


It’s that time of the anime season where we have been graced with at least three episodes to make up our minds on whether or not we are going to stick with a series. Now, I’ll be honest with you I came into this season with very low expectations. With the knowledge that some shows (the ones that I really wanted to watch) would be extremely difficult to get access to legally I figured that this would be my season where I would be catching up on series I haven’t completed from previous seasons. That said I have found myself now watching seven new shows this season and I feel that I will not be giving up on them anytime soon. So here are my picks for the season!


My first girlfriend is a gal [Hajimete no Gal]: Crunchyroll & Funimation

Imagine if ‘Prison School’ and ‘Nisekoi False Love’ had a child, this would be the result. So far each episode has left me in tears and sides hurting from laughing. It is definitely a no holds barred comedy which gives the female characters more power over the male characters. It is not one you would watch with the family as there is a lot of sexual content but take it from me if you are looking for something to laugh at and something that doesn’t take itself very seriously go and check out this one.


Love and Lies [Koi to Uso]: HiDive

This premise for the show had me hooked from episode one. Imagine if the Government controlled who you would end up marrying even though you are in love with someone else. This show explores that concept. I don’t know what it is about this show but the healthy mix of drama and light comedy makes this show not to be missed. This show has the making where there will be lots and twists and turns and that we are all going on this insane ride with all four main characters. Admittedly there have been some slight animation problems in the recent episode, but the context of the story is what keeps you hooked.

Tsuredure Children: Crunchyroll

If you are looking for something sweet and wholesome this season then look no further than this show. Each couple is explored with a sweet avoidance of getting to the point. The flaw I find with this series is that each episode is so short and you crave more story but at the same time you don’t mind because you don’t want to be emotionally exhausted. It is one of those shows that takes people back to their high school days with their crushes.


Netsuzou TRap (NTR): Crunchyroll

What I would consider the most sinful show this season, this is definitely NOT one you would watch with the children. This show is dark from the set up. Best friends entering an unhealthy practice relationship with each other (admittedly its very one sided) to make it easier for one of the friends to establish a more adult relationship. It is definitely a dangerous show to watch because there are themes that might make you go ‘nope’ but it is a show that is like a car crash that you know you shouldn’t look at but you do.


Welcome to the Ballroom [Ballroom e Youkosu]: PrimeVideo

If you haven’t figured it out already this one is my favourite this season in terms of the new shows. Everything about it just makes me smile. The characters, plot, dance routines and yes even the animation style is all I want in an anime. There is something so incredibly wonderful about this show that it instantly connects you to the characters. It reminds me so much of ‘Nana’ in regards to animation but has heart like ‘Yuri on Ice’. Definitely one to check out because I feel it is only going to get better and better as episodes continue to come out.


Vatican Miracle Examiner [Vatican Kiseki Chousakan]: AnimeLab & HiDive

I came into watching this show with no proper exception but I have left curious as to where the story will progress. Whats not to love about an anime that genuinely makes you question everything that you believe in. The series has a unique approach to it delivery of story that it is one you can definitely watch for the suspense/mystery factor. The animation alone is worth sticking around for. I will admit this probably won’t be everyones cup of tea but if you are into something a bit more adult in terms of themes the give this one a go.


Princess Principal: AnimeLab & HiDive 

This one is just brilliant. I remember watching the first episode and thinking ‘Okay this is good’ and then coming to watch the second episode and my mind being blown away. This is an anime that is set up in the steam punk era where these girls are spies who pose as high school students at a very prestigious school. The style and animation kill me with how good it is and the story is going to flat our ruin me I just know it. Definitely my dark horse favourite this season.

There you have it, an intriguing season of anime for all of us to watch! Of course I am still watching My Hero Academia and Sakura Quest as they are still continuing this season and my God if you haven’t started watching those shows, you really need to get onto them now. MHA is going to a dark place in the anime whereas SQ continues to tell an absolutely beautiful story with the animation to support it.

Let us know what you are watching this season!

 

 

All is fair in ‘love and war’ why ‘Scums Wish’ was the anime of the winter season

I must admit, I found the anime that was offered to us this past anime season to be stale and dry. Not many shows managed to capture my interest and keep me invested throughout the whole series, except one.

‘Kuzu No Honkai’ or otherwise known as ‘Scums Wish’ was without a doubt the best anime to come out of the season, a dark and gritty romance anime where you are taken on an emotional journey alongside with the main characters. The story revolves around the main protagonist Hanabi who has been in love with the boy next door, who as it so happens the new teacher at school. She has known this man since she was a young girl and looked up to him as a brother like figure till her own personal feelings changed and developed into something romantic. In order to fulfil her desires for the ‘brother’ she engages in a “relationship” with a class acquaintance Mugi, who like herself is entangled in a similar love dilemma where he is in love with the music teacher. These two characters use their relationship to meet their needs and re-enact their forbidden desires. With an array of other characters that get tangled into the mix Hanabi realises she is not only in a war with another person, but herself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNw0gj_2iRI

This show manages to captivate you from the first episode. The intense beauty of the animation and soundtrack entices the viewer to keep watching. The way that the story is told is almost as if you are watching a manga. It is pretty much exactly what the manga intended audiences to read and the anime manages to capture the same magic and intensity as it was in paper form. The main story is so intense that it almost feels real. There are times watching this anime that I felt it was triggering moments of my own personal romantic history and doing so in such a way that it did not feel cheap, but actually real. That this can and more than likely does happen to people. This story is not sugar coated to be something that is wonderful and sweet, but rather a raw, intense interpretation of what life is like for someone that might be experiences their first love.

I don’t think I have come across an anime that has made me feel the way this anime has done. Once I got up to the last episode I was in tears, in fact when I think about the final scene I start getting all misty eyed. Which leaves me to wonder, is anime getting too real? Are we looking for anime that triggers emotions within us. The depth that this show managed to go into and not seem un-realistic is something that we have been obviously missing. It is definitely a welcomed change to finally see some mainstream anime actually take that plunge and become that story teller of reality. That not everything is easy, that there are times where we will get hurt and that there is pain out there that we have to go through.

If you are looking for a happy ending romance, don’t watch this show. If you are looking for something that is real then this is the show for you. The anime has been working in conjunction with a Live action Japanese drama production which also manages to capture the essence of what life as a teen experiencing first love and the troubles and turmoils they would face. As like my many other reviews I refuse to spoil this show but take it from me, this show has it all. From excellent character development, emotional turmoil, visuals that are almost too breathtaking to even seem like this is a real anime to the intensely gorgeous and captivating soundtrack then look no further than this show. The ending theme ‘Heikosen’ is quite possibly the best ending song I have ever heard in an anime.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVjAFBoIZEs
This show is easily 5/5 for me without any second thought or question. I am still not over this show emotionally and I feel it will take a long time before I could move on from this show. This is easily a contender for ‘Anime of the Year 2017’. Sadly this is one of those show you might have to go and look for as getting access to it is incredibly hard, but take it from me when you do it is worth it.

First Impressions: Attack On Titan Season 2 Episode 1

One of the most watched anime’s and a massive fan favourite returned on the weekend for season two, thanks to Anime Lab. Attack On Titan Season Two premiered with a thumping new OP and great action to boot in just the first episode. Farrah and Japandaman break down episode 1, Beast Titan.


Japandaman Breakdown

Ok, I’ll try to keep this spoiler free but first off…Titans have been hiding where?? Right from the first minute, revelations and more questions are raised so if you thought answers were coming after season one, we may have to wait a bit longer. It’s great to see that some fan favourites are back even though we’re yet to see them in action. Also good to see some new characters introduced straight away with some substance to them. The episode starts nicely building the tension and drama that we’ve become accustomed to, however it isn’t long before the Titans show up and start wreaking havoc. We find out early on that Wall Rose has been breached which transitions nicely into some action for the rest of the episode without letting up the pace.

Miche is a character that kicks some ass during this action sequence who we learn is only second to Levi for his fighting skills, he’s amazing. Whether or not he’s around for a while for us to get used to, well… There’s a nice flashback scene with Eren and Mikasa before cutting back to the main storyline but we’re yet to see them in action this early on. The Titans as usual are creepy, scary and just have all sorts of wrong expressions on their faces and yes, there’s already a variety of different ones in the first episode. The animation on the horses when there’s lots happening on screen is quite stunning and the 3D effect comes across very cleanly with an exceptionally high level of wow factor thrown in.

It’s obviously very early in the season but if the rest of the episodes follow the action and tension of this first episode, then anime fans are definitely in for a treat. And oh yeah, keep an eye for the Titan who the episode is named after. He’s something very different in more ways than one. I can wait and see what direction they take him in, I really hope there’s a cool story arc in there around him.

4.5/5

Farrah Breakdown

Attack on Titan is back baby!

I am going to keep this short and sweet and avoid using spoilers because I feel that it wouldn’t be right. If there was one show that made you feel like you have been punched in the face from pure brilliance it was the premiering episode for season two. This show managed to capture my interest from the very start. The slight recap of what has happened previously was welcomed, as it has been many years since the original series has been shown.

The show has this new intensity that I haven’t felt in a while watching an action filled anime. The characters show a new depth and have clearly developed which is something I did wonder we would see. The interesting thing for me though is even though you know that there is some clear progression it still feels like we have never been apart from this world for long.

This first episode was gruesome as hell. If I were to compare this show with a live action this show would clearly be the anime version of ‘The Walking Dead’. Unexpected deaths and shock value hit you straight away (that poor horse). The show is already establishing that things are dark, things are depressing, and that there is the need for a hero.

If I had to find some faults for this episode I would probably say it was the opening theme song. It just didn’t have that same iconic feel as oppose to the previous season but it does seem like a theme that people will grow to love as the series goes on.

It is definitely a show I can see myself watching week after week, leaving me desperately wanting more. I am so glad that we have this show back in our lives and that we have this unique story being unfolded through this medium. It had the right amount of comedy to balance out the seriousness of the story.

For a first impression I give this show a 4/5

Welcome back Attack on Titan, we have missed you.

First Impressions: Keijo!!!!!!!!

Keijo!!!!!!!! is a new series to this anime season but already it’s made quite a splash amongst fans. The series is set in a world where a sport known as Keijo has become extremely popular with a huge fanbase and plenty of money to win. The sport is for woman only and involves pods floating in water called “Land” that the women stand on and then try to knock each other off into the water using only their…butts and boobs. I kid you not.

keijo-screen-1

The main protagonist is a young schoolgirl called Nozomi Kaminash who enters the Setouchi Keijo Training School where she hopes to use her gymnast training to excel in her time there and raise herself and her family out of poverty and into fame and riches. With moves having names like Butt Cannon, Butt Guillotine and Bust to Bust Attack, you know you’re in for something different and that’s only the first episode!

keijo-screen-2

You may have already guessed by now but this episode is full of fan service with shots of tight bikinis and boobs almost falling out. The other characters we meet in the first episode are all very different and have their own reasons for being there which I can’t wait to find out. If you don’t mind fan service, then is probably an anime to add to your watch list for the new season.

https://youtu.be/4q5EzRxZRFg

If you prefer anime with a darker storyline then clearly this is not what you’re looking for but it is a lot fun and very comedic. I’m really keen to see where this show goes and what happens with Nozomi, she’s such a gutsy cute thing!

Likelihood to keep watching: 100%