Category Archives: Anime Review

Review: Erased Volume 1 (Blu Ray)

Erased is a stunning story from writer and illustrator, Kei Sanbe, and involves drama, tension, murder and that ever popular theme, time travel. The Blu Ray used in this review is Volume 1 which contains the first 6 episode, the next volume is coming next month from Madman.

Erased tells the story of Satoru Fujinuma, a young male who has the ability to travel back in time through a process he calls, “Revival”. Revival seems to be triggered by a life changing event that’s about to occur around him. He see the events of the time shift and as he realised he’s watching future events, he’s thrown back to the past to prevent it from happening.

Satoru is a part time pizza deliver driver for Oasi Pizza where he is also friends with a female high schooler, Airi Katagiri, who becomes caught up in Satoru’s life after she becomes aware of his gift. Satoru makes ends meet by also being a manga artist. His life is altered forever after his mother is tragically murdered due to witnessing a kidnapping in progress. This event triggers Satoru’s Revival and transports him back in time to when he was a young boy of only 10 years of age. Some how during this time, he needs to set in place a series of events which will cause a ripple through time to hopefully alter the events of his future timeline.

Needless to say this sets the scene for a cracking pace in the anime, a pave which rarely lets down and see each episode finish on a cliffhanger every single time. People you come to like in the series will ultimately end up being completely different people and it becomes a case of Trust No One. The episode that this volume finishes on is a particular stressful and tense episode and will have you screaming, “Nooo!!” at your TV, hungry for the next instalment. It features stunning animation, an amazing soundtrack with great, likeable characters.

If you haven’t seen it, then you’re doing yourself a MASSIVE disservice and it’s a story that is so rich, so well told and crafted with all the necessary elements to support it and make it become an addition to your collection.

*Thanks to Madman for the review copy*

Final score: 10/10

 

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!

 

 

Review: One Punch Man (Blu Ray)

One Punch Man is an absolute gem of a series filled with interesting characters, funny moments, beautifully choreographed fight scenes and a dollop on stunning animation. For those of you that have still to discover this series, I’ll give you a breakdown below and why you need to get into this!

 

The anime revolves around Saitama, the titular superhero character who has the ability to defeat foes with a single punch. This all comes in very handy as he lives in Z-City, a metropolis that is completely saturated with super villains and monsters as well. We soon learn that he gained his abilities by sticking to a strict regimen of a 10km run, doing 100 pushups, 100 squats, 100 sit ups and also by having a healthy diet. And also by doing all this without using a heater or air conditioner.

He’s quite bored and complacent with this however as life no longer presents him with any challenges but things take a turn for the better when he meets and befriends Genos. Genos is a teenage cyborg who looks up to Saitama as his senpai and the two develop a close bond and friendship.

As the series unfolds, we see that Genos’ family had an encounter with a cyborg which changed him forever. In this encounter, Genos was pretty much destroyed until a scientist, Dr. Kuseno, took him in and restored his cyborg body also granting him powerful and deadly abilities to seek revenge on the cyborg that altered his family.

All this plays into Saitama joining the Hero Association to be recognised for his efforts in the fight against the evil of Z-City.

OPM is a fun series that never takes itself too seriously and is loaded with many laughs along the way. So if you like your anime with a blend of action, laughs and drama, give One Punch Man a look. You’ll definitely be entertained.

Final score: 8.5/10

*Thanks to Madman for the review copy*

Review: Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu (Blu Ray)

Straight off the bat, I’ll own up and say that I’m a massive fan of Steins;Gate. In fact, thanks to bestie Neko, it’s now my favourite anime series. So it was with bated breath that I began to watch Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu hoping that it didn’t tarnish the memory I had of the original series. I was relieved when ten minutes into the film, I was able to exhale with relief, safe with the knowledge that I was in for a great time.

The film picks up one year after the events of the series and all the cast is back. Rintarō Okabe, Kurisu Makise, Mayuri Shiina and more are back for more time traveling adventures. The film revolves around Okabe suffering from memory flashbacks and dizzy spells which he can’t explain and still paranoid as ever, talking to imaginary people on phone. In amongst all this, Kurisu comes back to Japan for a conference and reunites with all her old pals. Rintaro realises that these flashbacks are memories from alternate timelines that he visited in the series. In the film, he’s living in the Steins;Gate world line where Mayuri and Kurisu are still alive and the time machine never existed.

Rintaro begins to blink in and out of existence resulting in everyone losing their memories of them and it’s up to Kurisu to work out what exactly is going on and why it’s happening. I don’t really want to go into too much detail in case I accidentally give away some spoilers but if you loved the series then you’ll like this. As far as animation goes, it still uses the minimal styling seen in the series which works to great effect as it leaves all the attention on the story without relying on pretty visuals to carry the narrative.

Suffice to say, I really loved this one and I’ve been really keen to see it. The only drawback and criticism that I would have is that it was just too short. The film with end credits comes in at 90 minutes so taking the credits out, that results in a pretty feature film. Having said all that though, it really does feel like an extended episode as the writing, character behaviour and general setting of the film blend in seamlessly with the series. Give it a watch and be prepared for a thinking time travelling journey through Steins;Gate and back again.

Final score: 8.5/10

*Thanks to Madman for the review copy*

Review: Boruto Naruto The Movie (Blu Ray)

As the risk of outing myself, I’ll fess up and admit that I never really got into the Naruto anime. I’ve tried a few times in the past but never made it anywhere near the end of the first season. Still I was very curious about Boruto: Naruto The Movie having heard great things about it from may friends and fans alike.

I’m glad I heeded their advice and gave it a go.

First some quick background, Boruto is the son of Naruto who is now married to Hinata Hyuga, who has attained the level of Seventh Hokage and is a fully fledged ninja with a boring office job. His son, Boruto, is just as tenacious as his father was at his age with the exception that Boruto is much better skilled with jutsu than Naruto ever was. Naruto also has a younger sister, Himawari who idolises her brother and really looks up to him. Boruto is coerced into signing up for the chunin exams after coming across a scientifically designed ninja tool which can store the chakra in little capsules thereby releasing the jutsu when you need it. When Naruto hears about this device, he bans it from the exams.

However Boruto enters with the device which he uses to progress through the rounds. Naruto finds out about it, confronts him and promptly disqualifies him from the exams. It’s then that two strangers appear and begin to wreak mayhem on the arena before revealing that they’re after Naruto. Naruto seemingly sacrifices himself and disappears into another dimension with them. Sasuke contacts the other four Kage who travel to the world where Naruro is being held prisoner, along with Boruto to try and bring him back.

Without a doubt, this movie looks beautiful especially the fight scenes. Their are a few through the film but of particular note is the climactic battle at the end, it looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s the first time I’d ever seen Boruto the character at all but his design is really cool and I love how the creators didn’t just do a miniature version of Naruto. Speaking of Naruto, it’s so cool to seen him as an adult now after seeing countless pictures of him throughout the years as a young boy. The Hidden Leaf Village looked great as well, I remember it being more rural but as a non-watcher of the series, I’m guessing that the look was upgraded over the lifetime of the series.

Also, I didn’t feel that I was missing out on anything by not being a Naruto regular, the characters all stood on their own and not having prior knowledge was not a disadvantage to me whatsoever. Of course, if you are a fan, then it’ll be a kick to see all your favourite characters all grown up with their own young families to guide through life. Overall, great film maybe a little short at just under 90 minutes but the time went flying, it was that well paced with a great story.

Final score: 7/10

Thanks to Madman for the review copy.

Review: Gunslinger Stratos (DVD)

Gunslinger Stratos from A-1 Pictures is a time travelling, dimension hopping adventure with non stop frantic action thrown in for good measure. The story revolves around two main protagaonists, Tohru Kazasumi and Kyōka Katagiri who live in AD. 2115. The island we know as Japan is now called the 17th Far East Imperial City Management District. Everyone lives in peace when all of a sudden, a mysterious disease begins to take effect on the citizens by crumbling them into dust in a process that’s come to be known as degradation.

Thrown into the mix are the aforementioned friends Tohru Kazasumi and Kyōka Katagiri who find themselves falling into a dimensional warp and reappearing in 2015 where they encounter versions of themselves that are both on the side of good and bad in a battle between parallel worlds. This parallel world is known as Frontier S (Stratos).  The introduction of beings called the Timekeepers who control the flow of these battles and when they occur provide another element from the story as their intentions are not clear and their motives clouded.

The purpose of these battle are to obtain energy cubes which will give the successful side an advantage during these skirmishes as it allows them to upgrade their and evolve their weapons which is very cool and gives each side a battle advantage. The battles all take place under a time limit and are very dynamic with characters taking flight and awesome gunfights taking place above the ground and crashing through buildings and just generally causing mayhem.

The animation is nice and clear with great detail in the characters and battle scenes. Sometimes battle scenes can become a bit of blur but they hold up very nice here. There doesn’t appear to be much 3DCG either which actually suits the style of the anime, 3DCG is nice and looks dynamic but the use of it has to fit the aesthetic of the anime. The characters are all distinct and have personalities that you’ll find yourself drawn to, everyone will find their favourite.

 

It’s also great seeing how different the two worlds really are with the 17th Far East Imperial City Management District very much under strict control and not freedom of choice while Frontier S is full of freedom but also full of outlaws as a result. It makes you wonder in which world everyone would be better off as they have glaring pros and cons. As the story progresses, mysteries begin to solve themselves and the whole reasoning behind the degradation process becomes known. The Timekeepers also reveal their motives and what they stand to gain from all the confusion going on.

Gunslinger Stratos is a cracking ride with a deep, immersive storyline which will appeal to fans of action anime that has a thinking plot behind it. The violence is never gratuitous and everything comes together seamlessly as the story draws towards a climactic end.

*Thanks to Madman for the review copy*

Final score: 7.5/10

Review: Attack On Titan Season 1 Collection (Blu Ray)

I’m not going to lie, this will probably be the shortest review yet, only because I feel that by now, every man and their dog has seen or at the absolute very least, heard about Attack On Titan. It changed the anime landscape in a big way when it debuted back in 2013 and for those who still have zero idea what it’s about, here’s a quick spoiler catch you up.

*deep breath*

It’s set in a time where humankind is on the brink of extinction and the remaining survivors live in cities and villages behind three large walls that surround what little safe land they have left. Very early on, we are introduced to Eren Yeager, his sister who we learn is adopted Mikasa Ackerman and village friend, Armin Arlert. After living in relative security for over 100 hundred years, everything is changed when the humanoid Titan show up, smash through Wall Maria and begin to devour the hapless humans. Eren, Mikasa and Armin take the fight to the Titans by joining the Survey Corps who fly around on Omni-directional Mobility Gear apparatus killing the Titans. Along the way, they meet many soldiers who become their friends, each with their own reason for being there risking their lives. They also meet and kill many Titans who range in size and are either male or female. Things take a turn when they meet the savage Female Titan which elevates the stakes in the fight until Eren discovers he holds a potential discovery within him to turn the tide of the whole war.

*and exhale*

So it’s a very action packed anime that has drawn many fans worldwide and many cosplayers even to this day still show their dedication by having AoT meetups at conventions. Suffice to say if you haven’t seen it, then you owe it to yourself to at least check out the first few episodes to see if it’s for you as some people don’t like it. What I wanted to focus on was the recent release from Madman which packs all the drama and tension from season one and packs it into the recently released, “Attack On Titan Season 1 Collection”.

There are four discs in the Blu Ray edition with all 25 episodes contained and they’ve thrown in some really collection special features. There’s episode commentaries, eyecatch gallery, textless songs, US trailers, AoT at Anime Expo, the making of Attack On Titan and a chibi theatre with a feature, “Fly, Cadets, Fly! Days 1 – 25”, all of which are worth having a look at.

It’s also a great time to get into this release seeing as how season two is finally showing, you can check that out on Anime Lab so if you are new to the series, then is ideal for you. Fantastic series, stunning animation, massive range of characters for you to love and hate and excitement dialled right up with a healthy dose of drama sprinkled throughout.

Final score: 9/10

Japandaman reviews Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry

Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry is the latest theatrical release from Madman entertainment and is a movie designed to get the die hard fans back to falling in love with the series but leaving the casual anime viewer extremely confused. The trailers and hype surrounding the movie made it seem that this is the final chapter and it was bound to be an epic time, however the only thing that was truly the set up for the beginning of the end was the post credit scene.

To not spoil the movie for people that do intend to go and watch this film we follow Natsu and his friends who travel to the island Kingdom of Stella to go and retrieve the stolen ‘Dragon Cry’ staff that could bring the world into destruction. It is up to the Fairy Tail gang to go and claim back what belongs to them. The film introduces characters that have some influence to the lead up of the beginning of the end.

In terms of visuals, its decent. It felt just like watching the last season in terms of animation only just adapted for the big screen. There were moments that were visually stunning and the fight scenes in general were just so entertaining to watch.

The movie itself has some small flaws. It felt like I was watching an extremely long episode which was just thrown together for the sake of putting out a story. It seemed at times that the plot was rushed and certain moments not making any sense, however if you are a long time fan of the series you will finally understand why all of this takes place as it does set up what will be the finale.

The amount of fan-service this film had was over the top and there were some scenes that did seem rather unnecessary, however in terms of comedy it had just the right amount to keep the audience entertained and engaged in the movie. Character development was definitely there and it was fun to see all the gang just give it their all.

My favourite part of the film was the underlying message that the story was conveying, friendship is the power that makes you. Having friends you love and care for are the driving force that gives you power. This is the clear message put across particularly as this is the fuel that Natsu relies on to give him the power that he needs.

I didn’t hate the film, but if I had no previous knowledge about Fairy Tail and that was my first time seeing the film, I would be left extremely confused. This is definitely a film for the fans of the series.

If you are a fan of the series it is an easy 4/5 however it you are just that casual anime fan I would probably rate it a solid 3/5. I feel that this movie will benefit more when it receives a dub.

The film is out now for a limited time.

Anime Rewind: Toradora!

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.

I rate this show 5/5. It is anime perfection.

Dub or Sub, you cannot go wrong with ‘Toradora!’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ktJuWtA4fQ

 

You can currently stream the series right now on Netflix Australia here or purchase it on dvd from Hanabee website. It is also available in JB Hi Fi and all good anime dvd distributors.