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Gougai! Gougai!

HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#101 | Back to Top01-17-2016 08:33:20 PM

CarolineWellwater
Mikage Mistruster
Registered: 10-18-2015
Posts: 67

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

((Originally Posted, 31 Jan, 2015.

Okay, it's about time I get off my lazy self, and post up another one of these reviews.  That way, I can still say I'm getting at least one a month.  This time, I'm reviewing an older OVA; Le Portrait de Petite Cossette… or The Picture of Little Cossette.

For the review, I'm using my PS3 Slim, a Samsung PDP Series 5+ 5300 High-Def TV, Monster-Brand HDMI and stereo cables, and Yamaha YHT 493BL home theater sound system.

The DVD of Cossette I have is the older, Geoneon version from 2004.  It's listed as 16 and Up on the back of the DVD case.  As far as I can tell, it is still available… though it might be through Funimation / Aniplex now.  Anyway, the OVA I have contains all three episodes.  If I'm looking this up correctly, there is also a manga based on the same story, but with a different ending.

Eiri Kurasashi is an artist and antiquarian.  While working in his shop, he comes across a unique, Venetian-glass chalice that gives him disturbing, but evocative images that he can't duplicate or explain.  When his Uncle, who owns the antique store, sends another crate of art to be cataloged and stored, Eiri stumbles upon a portrait of the girl in the visions.  From here starts a gothic-supernatural tale of love and madness.  Will Eiri be able to help Cossette, or will he succumb to the insanity.

I love the packaging!  Geoneon pulled out all the stops.  The dust-jacket is double-sided, featuring gothic-loli artwork of protagonist Cossette.  The entire piece is dark, mysterious, romantic, and beautiful.  Inside, the DVD is silk-screened with the same color palette of the movie (heavy on the dark blues, purples, violets, and blacks).  The DVD also contains a small, double-sided poster measuring about 8.5" x 11"… though the poster is folded into quarters, meaning it'll have creases.  Overall, very well done, Geoneon, on the packaging.

Cossette reminds me a lot of a Lovecraftian-supernatural-horror-romance.  Its three episodes all offer a very high-end art-house feel, full of beautiful imagery, disturbing insanity, gorgeous horror, as well as the haunting duality of nature.  It is a take on the tragic affair of Romeo and Juliet, if told by gothic authors.  The story blends ideas such as malign spirits vs wrathful haunts.  It teases about ideas of science, mysticism, blood-magic, art, wrath, and true love.  Cossette leans heavy on the thematic-element button, using metaphoric visions to explore a number of different ideas, all of which are valid in this gothic romantic tale.  For example, early in the show there seems to be a bit of a throw-away line about all objects having spirits.  Later, we come to realize just how true the comment was.  Cossette was also very good about blurring the lines between light and shadow, as well as tragedy and curses.  Lastly, Petite Cossette uses a different style of magic, that of blood-magic or thaumaturgy.  It was a pleasant change of pace to see another style used for a storytelling. 

Being a story about an artist and a cursed portrait, the art is amazing.  From the costuming, to the different styles touched upon, to the palette choices, to the framework, to the backgrounds, Cossette is packed full of eye-pleasing visual effects, and eye-catching artwork.  Petite Cossette also used grainy-style horror footage and dream-frame-sequences to excellent effect.  The characters and costuming are all unique, while having a creepy, familiar feel to them.  Cossette herself is used to full extent.  While all of the characters feel like they could be your neighbors, Cossette is so hauntingly gorgeous that you cannot help but want to see her.  Her costuming further emphasizes her nature, and dangerous undertones.  Well done.
Not everything about Petite Cossette was perfect.  The initial clock-attack was on the corny side, but it did recover later, as Cossette and Eiri began to conduct another blood ritual to deal with the clock.  Episode 3 also had two, oddly-positioned, musical interludes.  The timing wasn't bad, as it matched the changing nature of Eiri's feelings and desires… just… it didn't seem the best spot for them.  So… both of those were a bit of mixed bag. 

Petite Cossette didn't really have an intro, but it did have an ending.  The ending was simple; a still, portrait of Cossette while the theme played and the credits scrolled by.  An interesting, and well executed idea.  Be advised, if you do watch the show, make sure you watch the credits all the way through to the end.

I enjoyed both sets of casts, and found myself hearing some of my favorites, such as Wendee Lee, Johnny Young Bosch, Michelle Ruff, and Marina Inoue.  Both sets of actors added to their characters, giving the entire show a well rounded performance.   

Music and sound effects were ghostly and moody, fitting the gothic-love-story nature of the story.  They even used odd instruments, such as a harpsichord and zither.  Chanting and unaccompanied vocals added to the semi-dream-semi-madness of the story as it was being told.  Glass and chain sounds added to the binding and fragility of the bond between Eiri and Cossette.  Full marks for music and sound effects.

Technical marks held up well.  Choreography was good, but I did notice some lines during a few frames, as well as a few, blurred edges.  The show is from 2004 so… it is over 10 years old.  It did take advantage of the full 16:9 picture, lending a movie-like feel to the OVA.  Both the Japanese and English sound tracks used the 5.1 audio feature of the show.  There were times where the voices were on the quiet side, but I think that was intentional and meant to show the personal nature of the thoughts or conversations.  Subtitles were well timed, and used a font that was properly sized.  Id est, large enough and correct color to read, without obscuring what was going on.

Geoneon did a solid for the extras.  You have the standard clean ending credits and trailers for other Geoneon shows.  They also threw in several, Cossette specific trailers.  In addition to all that, Geoneon included a behind-the-scenes interview/short of the show, and a music video of the main theme song of the show.  Full marks for extras.

In summary, Le Portrait de Petite Cossette is a well done, chilling, haunting, gothic romance tale that pulls you in and won't let you go.

Grade: A ))

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#102 | Back to Top01-17-2016 11:39:21 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

CarolineWellwater wrote:

(( Hey Aelanie,

Well... that's the confusing part to me.  I know it isn't CLAMP... but... it's also not-not-CLAMP.  The closest I can find to an actual studio or art-house would be Bandai.  So... I'm left with either not including that information at all, or... lumping it in with CLAMP stories, due to it being done by some of the CLAMP staff.

So... I'm stuck, I guess, on that one. ))

It wasn't done by "some of CLAMP staff" though. CLAMP is a small group of manga artists that has nothing directly to do with anime production. The only link is that one person with no affiliation with CLAMP just happened to play a role in the production of an adaptation of MKR, and then in Shamanic Princess. The studio that created Shamanic Princess was Bandai Visual with assistance from (the now-defunct) Triangle Staff.

Really, you should just remove all references to CLAMP. They had no role in Shamanic Princess.

Last edited by Aelanie (01-17-2016 11:42:36 PM)

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#103 | Back to Top01-18-2016 12:58:30 PM

Sweetgm2
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 02-16-2015
Posts: 40

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Mother Keeper also has some HoYay going on, being by the same person who did Monochrome Factor.

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#104 | Back to Top01-18-2016 08:37:43 PM

CarolineWellwater
Mikage Mistruster
Registered: 10-18-2015
Posts: 67

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

(( Hey Aelanie,

It wasn't done by "some of CLAMP staff" though. CLAMP is a small group of manga artists that has nothing directly to do with anime production. The only link is that one person with no affiliation with CLAMP just happened to play a role in the production of an adaptation of MKR, and then in Shamanic Princess. The studio that created Shamanic Princess was Bandai Visual with assistance from (the now-defunct) Triangle Staff.

Really, you should just remove all references to CLAMP. They had no role in Shamanic Princess.

Well... I would, except the art-style does remind me a lot of CLAMP-type works.  In a similar vein, its how the artstyle of Masquerade and Spaceship Agga Rutter reminds me a lot of the Tenchi OVA.  Or, how U-Jin had understudies that, while it wasn't his work, resembled his work.

As such... I don't feel comfortable just throwing that out.  So... instead I compromised a bit.  I corrected the production house with Bandai and MOVIC.  And, instead of saying the artwork was CLAMP, I said it reminded me of CLAMP-type works.  I also took out parts where I mis-credited CLAMP with the style, and replaced it with story-tropes used.  Overall, though, it wasn't a lot of corrections to make... which I guess is good.

Anyway, I do appreciate the feedback.  What did you think of the other two?  ))

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#105 | Back to Top01-20-2016 02:01:58 PM

Llarian
Miki Molester
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: 04-14-2012
Posts: 34
Website

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Sparky wrote:

YamPuff wrote:

*shining eyes* Space Opera with pretty boys?. etc-wankgirl

*stealthily adds on to-watch list*

I recommended this in another thread and I'm going to recommend it here too, Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

Ikarikun wrote:

Haven't seen it here, but Sakamichi no Apollon is pretty heavy on the subtext. Uhhhh can also vouch for Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

The cast for LoGH is 98% male and star-studded with seiyuu, as well. 

My recommendation for anime is Jyu-Oh-Sei, a space drama with twins, attractive menfolk, desperation, desolation, gladiatoral games and man-eating vegetation.

My manga recommendation is Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga, a slice-of-life about a middle-aged man who has started a bakery called Antique Bakery.  The fun starts to roll in as he hires three employees to bake, serve, and do grunt work.  Don't write it off just yet - the bakery's owner was kidnapped as a child and frequently wakes up in a cold sweat due to nightmares about his childhood experience.


What's the point? Art is so useless. It's such a waste of time!
And it's not like anyone else ever wastes time. It's not like you spend hours in front of the television or the computer accomplishing absolutely nothing.
Oh wait.

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#106 | Back to Top01-30-2016 09:54:56 AM

Sweetgm2
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 02-16-2015
Posts: 40

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Just checking out Toward The Terra.  The character designs remind me of Rose Of Versailles and Kaze To Ki No Uta.

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#107 | Back to Top01-30-2016 12:02:59 PM

Yams
Nest Boxer
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 960

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

The creator of Kaze to Ki no Uta also made Toward the Terra so you are spot on there. I adored the style of that anime; old school art style with modern high-budget animation. My eyes were so happy.


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#108 | Back to Top02-24-2016 09:27:06 PM

CarolineWellwater
Mikage Mistruster
Registered: 10-18-2015
Posts: 67

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

((  Hey all,

Well, with it being February, it is time once again for me to post a review.

Since it is a bit shorter of a show (being only 12 + 1 episodes), I'm going to review Everyday Tales of a Cat God.  At some point, I'll get back to my multi-part reviews of Utena and Evangelion… someday soon.  Oddly, for being a shorter show, I think this is one of my more complete reviews.

http://i1379.photobucket.com/albums/ah144/michaelthomas57/catgod2_zpsfocrv4ch.jpg

Mayu and Yuzu

Mayu has always been a bit of a sneak and a troublemaker, but her mother has had enough of it.  Being the matriarch household cat-god, Ama-no-kura-no-moriakari-no-hime, has decided to teach Mayu a lesson for disobeying her mother one to many times.  As such, Mayu is cast out of Takagamara, and down to earth to learn a lesson.  It is here Mayu meets antiquities store owner Yuzu… and it's here where our story begins.

Nippon Ichi released two versions of the show: the standard version, and the premium version.  Being as I enjoy the extras that NIS adds in the premium, I picked up that edition.  The series is split onto two Blurays.

I really enjoy the work and care NIS puts into the packaging of the premium set.  The box is another slip-case, similar to the one's used for Persona: Trinity Soul and Nyaruko, id est, a longer box that is a bit odd looking on a movie shelf, but covered in art about the show.  The slipcase is full-color, with eye-catching attractive use of characters from the show.  Full Marks.  The Bluray cases each have a full-color dust jacket, and the Blurays themselves are also silk screened.  Full marks for the very attractive and designed packaging

Mayu, being a cat-god, is very much a lazy genius.  She would be impressive and powerful… if she really wanted to do anything other than play games, hang out with her other odd-job god friends, and generally relax the day away.  Still, Mayu does take her responsibilities with care and diligence… when she isn't dreaming about eating, or sleeping, or goofing off. 

Character designs are cute and adorable, fitting with the light feel of the show.  Color pallets helped to flesh out the various cast members.  I also appreciated the attention to detail in the eye-colors chosen for the various cast.  For example, golden eyes can note nobility (which Mayu is, being the daughter of the Household Cat Goddess Princess), and Gonta and his mother Shizuka both have purple eyes, denoting their god status.  I also enjoyed the in-show genre-savvy humor that Everyday Tales of a Cat God used  to mildly poke fun at itself.  Yukina is a mangaka (as well as an onmyoji), and she assigns the other gods jobs based on their look. For example, Yukina pegs Sasana as "detail oriented", and Yuzu as "good in the kitchen" due to their appearance.  I also got a kick out of the fact that she uses her shikigami to assist her with various aspects of actually creating the manga.  Costumes were limited, with one big exception near the end of the show.  Anyway, good work with the character designs and color pallets.

Backgrounds and sets offer a solid variety such as Yuzu's store, the beach and beach resort, city parks, Yuzu's Grandfather's house, an abandoned shrine, and Takagamara.  Each place is well designed, and offers a unique feel (as well as some inside jokes as well).  The variety of locations makes the show feel grander than it should, being only 12 +1 episodes long.  Good work on the sets.

Nippon Ichi choose not to dub the show.  As such, the only language track is the original Japanese (which may bother some viewers, as NIS generally does a pretty good dub.) It was good to hear one of my other favorite seiyuu, Yui Horie.  Haruka Tomatsu is also starting to grow on me as an actress.  It did catch me off guard to hear Alicia Heart (from Dungeon Travelers 2) as the voice of Sasana.  (Okay, so the seiyuu was Ai Kayano for both… just caught me off guard.)  Overall, very well done voice work by the cast.  Subtitles came off as mixed-but-good to me.  The font, timing, and color were all well done, allowing for the show to be seen without cluttering the screen.  While, the translation was solid, it did use some Woosleyisms that allowed for the humor and relationships to translate better… though purists might not care for the alternations.  Also, NIS choose to translate the onomatopoeia sound effects as well, which did distract a bit.  Still, all-in-all, good marks for the seiyuu and subtitles.

Music and sound are done well.  The intro and ending music are both ear-catchy and fanciful, and help to frame the show as a slice-of-life light-drama-comedy.  I enjoyed the intro music just a bit more than the ending theme though, as it was upbeat and perkier, while the ending felt like another page was closing in the yearbook.  I did catch myself sort-of humming along to both tunes.

One of the oddball parts that I really enjoyed was the random dance number credits at the end of the festival episode.  It is done in a slightly-different art style that feels more like flash animation then anime.  But the simplistic dance routine done to the festival music is just adorable.  Anyway, the dance routine seems to come out of nowhere, and its whimsy greatly complements the light-hearted nature of the show.

On a mixed note, the show doesn't care to develop the characters much.  While they are not cardboard or props, with the exception of Mayu and Yuzu, the cast is fairly thin on depth and development.  For example, Ama-no-kura-no-moriakari-no-hime, Mayu's mother, stays as an aggressive tsundere mother, and Sasana is Mayu's feminine-gender-crossed fiance.  I felt it fit, due to the show being more focused on daily non-sequitors; however, other viewers who want a more fleshed out cast may be a bit disappointed.

On a second mixed note, the series isn't terribly deep in story either.  While it did offer some melancholy themes and scenes, for the most part the show was goofy, upbeat, and comedic.  If you're looking for a series that is more balanced, or more dramatic, Everyday Tales of a Cat God is thin in this area.  I enjoyed the whimsy, brevity, and lack of gravity… but others may not.

As par for the course, Nippon Ichi offers some solid extras, in their premium bundle.  Included in the bundle is a scrap-book of sorts, that also kinda feels like a high-school yearbook as well.  It's full color, hardback, with commentary from the crew and the cast (as well as Mayu herself.)  As a second extra, six mini-episodes are included, where Mayu gets trapped in various genres of games, and has to find her way out.  A cute little homage to Mayu's character-trait of regularly playing video games in front of the TV.  All-in-all, full marks for extras.

For technical marks, Everyday Tales of a Cat God is a quality pressing.  Colors are crisp, and I witnessed no pixelation, shimmering, or artificing.  Animation is smooth.  Music, sound, and voice work are all clear, make good use of the 5.1 channel sound, and I heard no distortion, hissing, or popping.  Menus are quick and easy to navigate, and very responsive.  Overall, full marks.

In conclusion, Everyday Tales of a Cat God is a sweet, easy-going, light, relaxed, slice-of-life drama with very endearing characters and charm.

Grade: B/B+ ))

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#109 | Back to Top03-11-2016 03:01:08 PM

Sweetgm2
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 02-16-2015
Posts: 40

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I'm currently into Hetalia and Seraph Of The End.  They more than qualify if anyone's interested.

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#110 | Back to Top03-30-2016 01:27:05 PM

malna
Caretaker
From: Poland
Registered: 10-03-2011
Posts: 209

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Recently I've been obsessing over Jian Yi/Zheng Xi of "19 Days", Chinese manhua. By far the best shounen-ai manga I've read so far. Very light, but not necessarily sweet. I love the main characters; their dynamic gives off some Pucca-Garu vibes. It's not just comedy though, it can get quite raw emotionally but never evokes dramatic tones.
Highly recommended.


a lot of hope in one man tent

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#111 | Back to Top04-05-2016 01:30:11 PM

Yams
Nest Boxer
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 960

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Guys.

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL IS BACK
SEASON 3

AND ITS REALLY GAY (the good kind)

AND THEY DID THE HENSHIN SCENES WITH ANIMATION NOT CGI

AND IT DOESNT SUCK BALLS


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#112 | Back to Top04-05-2016 08:16:24 PM

Flah
Belladonna Buster
From: British Columbia
Registered: 09-05-2013
Posts: 209

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I think I'm gonna wait for a few more episodes to see what everyone says before I check it out again. I do feel hopeful about it though.

Fingers crossed.


Somewhere, there is an unplugged toaster sitting on a Coleman stove.

Does it feel lonely?

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#113 | Back to Top04-06-2016 01:53:33 PM

Yams
Nest Boxer
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 960

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I actually got emotional and teared up during the henshin scenes.


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#114 | Back to Top05-21-2016 04:05:26 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Just getting around to Charlotte, but it's really surprised me. Anti-harem, anti-harmless-lech-dude, anti-special-blessed-one-true-savior. Basically What if Charles Xavier was a high school girl?, it doesn't shy away from the dumb, heartless shit kids can talk themselves into or do without thinking, but it's not all pessimistic and indulgent of that, either. A nice mix of drama and sweetness tinged with implicit and underlying fear and possibility.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#115 | Back to Top05-21-2016 11:58:58 AM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I ended up hating Charlotte with a passion. It starts out fine enough but once it derails, it really derails. This apart from some serious pacing issues in the last third or so. Oddly enough, this is actually an anime original but it feels like a light novel adaptation that was too compressed to fit into the standard one cour format.

I am enjoying Mayoiga, a bit against all odds. It is not good, has way too many characters and the bulk of these are truly annoying and less than clever but just like a trainwreck, one cannot look away. Sakamoto keeps amusing me, it is the One Punch Man of high school themed anime.

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#116 | Back to Top05-22-2016 12:34:20 AM

onsenmark
Spambane
From: The eastern U.S.... someplace.
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 543
Website

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I'm surprised no one's brought up Macross Delta yet.

It's... well, remember AKB0048*? Imagine that translated into the Macross universe, and you have Delta.

It's good, so far. Although Mikumo is kind of a raging bitch. And Makina looks like a Pinkie Pie cosplayer when she's in Walkure mode.

Speaking of, I will neither confirm nor deny that I ship her and Reina. Nope.

(AKB0048 was good, too. And Yuuko is best successor. COME AT ME.)


watch me whine: onsenmark.livejournal.com

Saa, omae no tsumi o kazoero!

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#117 | Back to Top05-23-2016 11:00:23 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Nocturnalux wrote:

I ended up hating Charlotte with a passion. It starts out fine enough but once it derails, it really derails. This apart from some serious pacing issues in the last third or so. Oddly enough, this is actually an anime original but it feels like a light novel adaptation that was too compressed to fit into the standard one cour format.

The makers apparently approached it as a confessional/character novel in episodes, so that accounts for that feeling. But, for me, the last third was the best, explaining things that were just hanging unexplained, taking characters through to new levels, and giving the show a strong climax.

I didn't really detect any derailing, it's just not the same setting or tone by the end, as the beginning. For a one season, closed story, I'd rather that. If they were making Cheers or Friends, no.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#118 | Back to Top05-23-2016 11:57:46 AM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

For me, Charlotte completely lost the plot once [it killed the annoying imouto only to bring her back to life. If there is one trope I cannot stand is this resurrection gimmick. For once it seemed as if the anime would have the guts to commit to a serious dramatic change that pushed the MC into some truly dark territory and that alone could have been the thrust of the story. The moment the little imouto came back to life I gave up on the anime entirely even though I still managed to watch it all to the bitter end. As for the whole third act, that too could have very well have been the bulk of the anime- having the MC travel around the world removing powers from teenagers- instead of just having it almost as an afterthought in the final episodes. I did not care for the humor in the first episodes either, it was never even remotely funny and has been done to death many times before.]

I watched it as it aired so I cannot recall many of the details but I do remember there were serious plot holes that become more and more pressing as the story develops.


Meanwhile, I finished Stop!! Hibari-kun. I found it absolutely hilarious from start to finish. Hibari may be one of the first canonical gay (or perhaps trans, it is very difficult to make distinctions in pure slapstick) characters in anime and has aged very well despite the many dated references and the overall iffy humor- the whole premise being that Hibari is a boy who acts, looks and is actually impersonating a girl (again, assuming it is not an actual trans issue) thus resulting in endless schenanigans as he constantly flirts with the very confused MC. Hibari is considered a perv by everyone who knows his secret and in any other setting it would border on offensive but this is the realm of super deformed characters, occasional kaiju, yakuza craziness and other random weirdness like Hibari's father being haunted by hallucinations of white alligators. That Hibari is always so at ease and is such a strong character also helps to dispel some of the less savory elements.

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#119 | Back to Top05-23-2016 03:32:22 PM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Different strokes, I guess.

Interesting about Stop!! Hibari-kun.  It's post Patalliro! and Cutey Honey, but still pretty early for anime. I'll have to try to check it out.

(Now, I'm said, again, that the Claudine movie didn't happen, in the early 80s. It'd probably have failed, commercially, but it would've been a thing.)


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#120 | Back to Top05-28-2016 05:29:17 PM

CarolineWellwater
Mikage Mistruster
Registered: 10-18-2015
Posts: 67

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

(( Hey all,

Well... here is another one of my reviews I've posted elsewhere.  Since I think Nippon Ichi, and NISA make a serious effort to bring all sorts of stuff over here to the States, I figured I would post another one of their shows I reviewed.

Anyway, here is my review for Nyaruko: Crawling With Love, Volume 1.  Originally Posted November 15, 2015.

**********

Today's positive headlines... another review from Caroline's-Real-World-Avatar.

For this episode of Caroline's All Access Anime, I'm going to cover another anime licensed and released by Nippon Ichi, Nyaruko: Crawling With Love (original title Haiyore! Naruko-San… which is also a shout-out to a game system). I'm using my PS3 Slim, a Samsung PDP Series 5+ 5300, Monster-Brand HDMI and stereo cables, and Yamaha YHT 493BL home theater sound system.

http://i1379.photobucket.com/albums/ah144/michaelthomas57/Haiyore.Nyaruko-san.full.1573785_zpsf7k0evxk.jpg


From left to right: Hastur, Mahiro, Nyaruko, and Kuko

Nayruko: Crawling With Love is a 12 episode OVA, released in the states by Nippon Ichi Software -- USA. I'm not sure if there is an associated manga with it or not. As far as I can tell, it is BluRay only. I picked up the Premium Edition, but there is also a Standard Edition available.  There is a Series 2 of it, which I will review later. 

Mahiro Yasaka is in trouble. Something horrible has him cornered in an alley, with no possibility of escape. Cowering in fear and terror he screams for someone to save him. Luckily for him, Nyarlathotep hears his cry, and comes to his aid. Except… instead of a eldritch, sanity frying monster, Nyarlathotep is a bouncy, hot, chick who goes by Nyaruko. So begins Nyaruko: Crawling With Love.

Again, Nippon Ichi keeps wowing me with their packaging. The entire set comes in an oversized, slip case covered in full-color art. Each BluRay cover jacket is full color, and plays up the etchi, harem, comedy fun. Even the BluRay disks are silk-screened with full-color art from the show. Included in the Premium Edition is a hard-cover book, self-called PDA Handbook, that also is full color. The Handbook has stills from the show, additional artwork and sketch work, comments about various episodes, and commentary from various cast and crew. All-in-all, the Premium Edition packs in the packaging, like a boss.

Mahiro Yasaka is a rarity. He's a male Tsundere, with quite the capability for snark. He would like nothing more than to just have a normal day. Instead, though, he has caught the intergalactic attention of the Planetary Defense Force and, in particular, its most energetic detective, Nyaruko. Now he's stuck with the maddeningly frantic eccentricities of a girl he couldn't possibly hope to comprehend. Worse, it looks like she's brought her own harem of unwanted guests as well, as she just wants to be with Mahiro. As such, life won't be the same for either of them.

Overall, I have to say, while Nyaruko is an unwanted-harem-comedy story, it dials up the fun-o-meter in such a way to grab your attention and just pull you along for the ride. The story-themes are nothing new; however, using a cthulhu mythos setting for a romantic-harem-comedy is. And, being as I'm a big fan of the cthulhy mythos, I found myself enjoying this lighter take on the cosmic horror genre. In addition Nyaruko is packed, and I mean PACKED, with shout-outs to all sorts of stuff such as other anime and TV shows, board games, video games, console wars, fourth-wall leanings. Nyaruko also pokes fun at the fourth wall and their own voice actors at times as well. In short, while the show isn't deep, it is fun.

Costumes, character designs, and sets are varied and well detailed. Each character has a predominate color, based on their cthulu mythos persona, a predominate costume, as well as several other sets of clothes. Sets vary from school and classroom to beaches and indoor pools. I enjoyed the art and character design. I especially enjoyed Nyaruko herself. The long hair mixed with an athletic, but not super-endowed figure, was really attractive to me. Anyway, I found the show to be perky, with a little bit of everything. There definitely will be at least one character you find to fit your tastes.

Something else I enjoyed about the show was its randy-ness. For me, it was that right amount of pervy, flirty, double entendres, and bold forwardness without being excessive. The show greatly uses steam censors, Godiva hair (Nyaruko has some of the most expressive hair ever), clothing damage, shadows, and well positioned limbs to tease and hint at nudity, without actually showing anything. I enjoy that style of raunchy humor and sexual situations. So, full points to the writers.

I also enjoyed how, while Mahiro is often at wits end due to the hyperactive exuberance of Nyaruko (what with him being the tsundere and all), you can tell he means something to her. There are only a couple of scenes were Nyaruko "calms down", and… they're so out-of-character for her that they are pretty impressive turning points. During these moments, you can tell that, while Mahiro doesn't want to admit it, he actually enjoys Nyaruko's company. It strikes me as memorable, when the cast members actually pick someone, even when that means they still need to juggle the affections and friendships of the rest of the cast.

The anime Nyaruko is Japanese only with subtitles. The cast does very well, and includes some of my new favorites like Kana Asumi, as well as some old favorites like Kikuko Inoue. I will say the VA who plays Hastur (not going to mention who it is) was a stroke of comedic genius. There are parts where the subtitles are quick, due to the lightning speed of the conversation, or take up a bit too much of the screen. Still, Nippon Ichi offers a good translation, and keeps much of the humor and conversational antics in tact. Audio also makes good use of the 5.1 channel sound and speakers.

EDIT: UGH! I should have pre-read this better than I did. I totally forgot to include the intro / ending section. Anyway, intro music is fast and frantic, well mixing with the overclocked antics of the show. Ending music is more relaxed, with echoes of Nyaruko's deep and earnest feelings for Mahiro. Overall, I enjoyed the intro and ending. Both set you up for each episode, and then gave you a quick pause to catch your breath, before grabbing your hand again on a mad dash forward. END EDIT

Extra's included in the show are fairly minimal, and I think that's due to the fact that they're basically included in the PDA Handbook. It does contain clean opening and ending credits and trailers for the show. Overall, acceptable extras.

For technical marks, the BluRays do very well. I witnessed no audio or visual problems, and the show took full advantage of the 16:9 ratio, HD-TV as well as the 5.1 channel sound. Menu's were easy to navigate and I enjoyed the user interface used. Full marks for technical specs.

Nyaruko: Crawling With Love is a fun, raucous, randy show, with a number of very clever jokes and jests, and a lot of its own, earnest, tenderness. Worth seeing.

Grade: B / B+ ))

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#121 | Back to Top06-15-2016 04:03:50 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8730
Website

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I didn't catch this on a find of the thread so hopefully I'm not being a lamer.

I, the one who has not sat through an entire anime since uh...probably Witch's Rain, caught a couple movies that I'm guessing everyone already knows about? I'm so out of touch with the scene. But if not...

http://i.imgur.com/lPkKa8F.jpg?1

Based on a novel by Project Itoh, this is a sci-fi? dystopian? horror? lezzing out?

I'm not going to write a plot synopsis, there's my anime listfor that. What I'll say is this: It's not Satoshi Kon, no, but it's the prettiest and most thought-provoking thing I've seen since Paprika. The world is portrays is absolutely horrifying, especially from a western perspective--individuality is rooted out to create a homogeneous norm. Even colors are muted to preserve the calm consistency of society. It's one of those films I find myself liking more and more over time, instead of the opposite. My only criticism of it is [the evolutionary rationale for Miach's personality--I think it actually detracts from what would have made just as much sense being the result of her trauma]. Otherwise it's fucking solid, and tightly wound. Every detail is relevant, and my skepticism when right in the beginning we get a teenage 'lezzing out' scene was totally debunked as I learned more about why and what place sexuality has in the story.

What I appreciated most was that even if it doesn't quite live up to it, it attempts to capture some thoughtfulness and exploration the medium allows, which is something I haven't seen in ages. I would equate it to Interstellar: it's flashy and undeniably beautiful, and you can just munch popcorn and enjoy, but there's more there for you to chew on if you choose to.

I enjoyed it enough to seek out the other 'Project Itoh' anime, Empire of Corpses.

Sadly this one was less amazing, the plotline just didn't carry it the same way and it kind of stumbles over an ensemble cast without enough time for them. I feel like it would have been a much better series. BUT the premise is really quite fun: a retelling of Frankenstein where they figured out corpses could basically perform slave labor and that this was awesome. The movie is bursting at the seams with nods and references,  and it's unfortunate the plot fails to live up to the premise, animation, and god damn awesome steampunking. I still enjoyed the film, and did get a hearty chuckle out of the twist at the end when a character turns out to be [Irene Adler].

I dunno, has anyone heard of these? Am I just lame and old? I really quite enjoyed both for what they were.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#122 | Back to Top06-15-2016 06:45:14 AM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Thanks for reminding me of that, it had been on my radar but I wasn't aware it was out. Glad to hear you feel the yuri aspects were well-executed; I look forward to investigating it with my best friend.

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#123 | Back to Top06-15-2016 01:45:05 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I started watching Empire of Corpses but the translation was so subpar and I was too tired to follow the Japanese that I decided to reschedule it. But from what I did see, I agree with Gio. The general premise was intriguing and the steampunk setting very vivid. The homoertic vibes were also a plus and there are set-pieces that work beautifully.
With that said, the movie format was indeed not the most fortunate. A series could probably do more justice to the content and give it a greater sense of cohension. As it is, the movie feels somewhat disconnected and a lot of its cast falls by the wayside as a result. Some of the many cultural references seemed rather random, too.

I watched and loved Doukyuusei. It captures the manga's style perfectly, from the not-too cutefied character design to the subtle emotional development between the leads. Doukyuusei handles teenage angst with grace, with just enough realistic awkwardness to balance the sweetness.

Kamiya Hiroshi as Hikaru is nothing short as brilliant, as ever, and I am beyond happy to see topnotch BL manga made into quality anime that respects the source material. That the movie has received such a positive critic both in Japan and abroad, including a cinematographic release in the States, gives me hope that more efforts in this line will follow. Even in the Doukyuusei universe there is enough material for more anime.
Hopefully this will help show that the genre has a lot more to offer aside from the typical rapey seme and weepy uke: Doukyuusei is BL at its best and this movie does it justice.

As an aside, I will probably not be able to buy the licensed version of this as the movie does not ship to my country. Odds are I will simply order it directly from Japan.

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#124 | Back to Top06-16-2016 12:12:55 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8730
Website

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

Aelanie wrote:

Thanks for reminding me of that, it had been on my radar but I wasn't aware it was out. Glad to hear you feel the yuri aspects were well-executed; I look forward to investigating it with my best friend.

Yuri is definitely not the basis for the plotline, and I really appreciated that about it. A movie that's yuri first and everything else second is really not going to end up on my radar, I honestly don't have a taste for that kind of media. But this movie did a great job rationalizing the lesbian overtones and broadening the scope of the sexuality underlying some of the themes and motives in the story. Sexuality ends up being a language, almost, treated with an openness and honesty I found refreshing. There isn't a ton of it at all, but what's there is surprisingly sex-positive, I felt.


Nocturnalux wrote:

I started watching Empire of Corpses but the translation was so subpar

I plan on revisiting both for this reason. The translation for Empire of Corpses was just absolutely horrid. emot-gonk


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#125 | Back to Top06-19-2016 06:46:22 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Anime/manga recommendation

I just watched Harmony and I echo Gio's appraisal of it. It reminded me of Brave New World, deliberately as the book itself makes a very short cameo, with echoes of Psycho Pass/GitS. Miach is almost the female Makishima Shougo in more ways than one, they even share the overall same color palette.

Dystopia has been done to death but Harmony still manages to bring something a bit different to the typical oppressive overlords motif. All those pink buildings, so alike, sprawling all over, have a cumulative effect that is rather unsettling.

I also think this is something that resonates with deeply Japan and its serious suicide problem.

The lesbian element is played beautifully, makes perfect sense and well woven into the plot without being the plot itself.

And I agree that [the whole thing Miach belonging to some thus far unknown tribe that has no consciousness was not necessary, at all. The calm and almost nonchalant way in which she tells about how she was raped would have the exact same impact and feel more realistic if she had been a normal person.]

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