“One Punch and You’re Hyped..” The One Punch Man Review ~

It is no surprise that One Punch Man has become one of the phenomenal anime in 2015. I never expect to become one of its die-hard fans but the full-loaded action, the wacky comedic scenes, the spectacular special effects and animation giving life and vibrancy to each scene, and the presence of characters with high levels of attractiveness and appeal (e.g. Amai Mask, my character crush) have all punched me into a hardcore fan with a mere single knuckle. Indeed, it may look like that the anime does not follow a particular story line. It is, however, more descriptive than narrative, stating Saitama’s challenges and achievements on the pursuit of his ultimate dream to become a professionally known hero.

The anime can be considered one-of-a-kind as it does not have any cliches. While many superhero-based anime have a hot main character paired with an attractive love interest who is more than often a target of an old and hideous villain, One Punch Man presents an ordinary looking main character (Saitama) with a powerful cyborg (Genos) as his disciple. There are neither love interests nor shippable pairings, which even makes the anime less stereotypical. These are also what I admire in this anime, as well as life lessons taught by Saitama, which are to fight for dreams no matter the risks and obstacles, and not to give up when times become rough. These are seen through his struggles in coping with the Heroes Association, wherein he is just barely known as a hero and is under classified despite his physical strength similar to Class-S (He is first placed in class C, the lowest hero ranking, then promoted to class B. Class A is the second highest, while class S tops all the rankings).

Not forgetting to mention that its opening theme is catchy and best highlights the action and superhero vibes this anime strives to deliver.

Alternative Names One Punch Man, ワンパンマン

Written By ONE (self-published as Webcomic, yet remade by Shueisha with Yusuke Murata as illustrator)

Directed By Shingo Natsume

Producer Madhouse

Original Run October 5, 2015 – December 21, 2015 (12 episodes, finished)

Genre Action, Comedy, Seinen, Super Power, Supernatural

Plot 

The story is about Saitama’s life as a hero, known to defeat the enemies with a single punch. He encounters struggles as he enters the path of being one of the professional heroes in the association, while he promises not to give up and to help the other heroes defeat the monsters evading the cities.

Overall Rating 5/5 stars (10/10)

Sources 

One Punch Man, MyAnimeList

One Punch Man, Wikipedia

Further Readings

“Highest Rated TV Series Released In 2015,” IMDb

“How to Work Up To One Punch Man’s Exercise Routine,” GoBoiano

(Saitama’s exercise tips)

Advertisements

Top Anime Villains

And the best award goes to these despicable yet charismatic antagonists.

1) ESDEATH (AKAME GA KILL)

This high-ranking Empire officer’s stunning beauty and strong determination in eliminating every Revolutionary Army as part of the order are more than just irresistible. I adore her as much as Akame and seeing them fight altogether in the final episode shattered my heart to pieces.

“The strong survive and the weak die.” Well said Esdeath!!

2) YUNO GASAI (MIRAI NIKKI)

The sweetest yet the deadliest. I admit being unable to resist to her yandere violent moves especially to those who would go near her beloved Yukiteru, explaining her rank as one of the most evil protagonists or rather anti-heroes in anime.

3) KUROME (AKAME GA KILL)

This gentle-looking girl is not to be mistaken as a professional killer after being trained by the Jaegers (the Empire’s army) where she ended being part. It is one of the reasons why I cannot bear seeing her fight with her older sister Akame and her sister’s mourning at her grave, both making my heart break.

4) LIGHT YAGAMI (DEATH NOTE)

His evil ways in predicting a person’s death and defining justice are definitely add-ons to his villainous charisma. Although he is dubbed as the protagonist, one cannot help being appealed by his rationality, smart and wicked moves in escaping from the detectives by siding with them in tracking Kira and helping them in their investigation (all of which indeed make him more cunning).

5) NUI HARIME (KILL LA KILL)

Seeing her candy-like personality paired with her invincible murderous soul is more than just pleasurable. She is just as sweet <insert poisonous> as candy.

6) RAGYO (KILL LA KILL)

More than just an anime version of Cruela-de-Vil, her glamorous, materialistic, status-obsessed and fatal nature turns her into one of the top evil picks.

7) KURUMI A.K.A THE NIGHTMARE (DATE A LIVE)

It is unsurprising how she is dubbed as the nightmare due to her creepy, cunning, yet striking feature that indeed turns her into a beautiful nightmare (what an oxymoron! lol). She may not be known as the villain, but she gives so much flavor to the anime having broken a monotonous series of Shido’s dating cycle and inserting ‘horror’ into Date A Live’s comedy scenes.

8, 9, & 10) TIGER, LUCHS, & PANTHER A.K.A THE SABER DOLLS (SABER MARIONETTE J)

Never thought how much I would love these seductive dolls as much as the marionettes (especially Lime and Cherry), the latter of which I loved during my childhood. They are just as strong as they are attractive.

11) GELHARDT VON FAUST (SABER MARIONETTE J)

Like the Saber Dolls, I have grown to adore their master. He is just as empowering as the previously mentioned three on the list.

12) FEI WONG REED (TSUBASA RESERVOIR CHRONICLES)

I simply have passion for his antagonistic and cruel, yet ambitious and mighty charisma. My admiration towards him is more than words can explain.

13) SEBASTIAN MICHAELIS (BLACK BUTLER) 

Again, he may be known more as a protagonist. But his antagonistic nature turns him into a character with an evil charisma and not forgetting to mention that he is also as attractive.

14) COLOSSAL TITAN (ATTACK ON TITAN)

Hands down to those who pick titan-related memes over Levi’s. Although I am also a big fan of Levi, I still find the titan’s more entertaining.

And don’t worry. I do not just appreciate them for the memes.

15) SOI (FUSHIGI YUUGI)

Her undeniable beauty makes her an unforgettable villain the mentioned anime. She also looks better with Nakago and I ship them a lot.

16) TOMO (FUSHIGI YUUGI) 

His theatrical costume and his power to hypnotize others into created illusions make him intriguing and distinctively appealing.

17) ENVY (FULL METAL ALCHEMIST)

His jolly and witty nature, aside from his malevolent moves, makes him more tuning to.

18) GLUTONNY (FULL METAL ALCHEMIST)

Also my favorite homunculus aside from Envy. I adore him simply for his hilarity.

19) REIRAN (FLAME OF RECCA)

She may just be the minor character in the anime, but I am undeniably struck by her doll-like allure and her sweet yet deadly personality.

20) NEON (FLAME OF RECCA)

Evil at first, but kind-hearted in the end. She would do that much for Kurei that makes some of the audience assume her romantic feelings towards him. The two would indeed make a perfect couple. I sometimes wish that Kurei would pick her after his beloved Kurenai’s death, yet he does not seem to get over Kurenai.

I merely admire Neon for her charisma and loyalty, despite the fact I am not a big fan of her flute and sound madogu (ie. known ninja weapon in the anime).

21) KUREI (FLAME OF RECCA) 

He is a kindhearted man behind his evil nature similar to Neon. Although I like his noble side more, I also adore him for his dark personality and there are times when I would feel more sorry for him (especially for his terrible past when his mother and him got rejected, molested even, in the ninja clan) than hate him.

22) KAWORU NAGISA (EVANGELION)

He is not the main antagonist in the anime alongside other Angels (although he is an Eva pilot who is an Angel in disguise). However, I do find him totally appealing and he still has that cunning attitude.

23) TAMAHOME (FUSHIGI YUUGI)

He is indeed not an antagonist of the story. But there is a certain scene where he turns into a villain after being fed by Yui’s bewitching spell and he looks perfect in it.

24) GENDOU IKARI (EVANGELION)

The best representation of nowadays’ high rank officials in real-life (not trying to debate about politics here yet still). While he claims that the Angels are outsiders set to attack the planet, it is revealed later that his constructed Eva robots turn into Angels in time (and many souls are salvaged to give life to Eva robots).

Evil, yet ambitious. Also an anime father cult figure.

25) NAKAGO (FUSHIGI YUUGI)

The most charming and favored villain on the list. He has everything I yearn in a typical antagonist that includes undeniable charm and handsomeness, merciless nature, cruelty, ambitiousness, strong determination to pursue his goals (to conquer the Four Kingdoms and become God), power and even his deep voice that well defines all of these characteristics. He is indeed an unforgettable character. There are times when I would understand and sympathize with him more than feel disgusted, given his appalling past.

Villains are easy to hate. But in the world of Japanese animation, they are more than often hard to resist. Both their appeal and their personality widen the fandom’s attraction towards them that the fans tend to forget how mischievous they are and would prefer to ride with their evil ways. So far, the mentioned characters are my picks. What about you?

More villains to come in the next sets of top lists..

Death Parade: Definitely a Mind-Twisting Game

71553

Alternative Names Death Parade, デス・パレード

Directed By Yuzuru Tachikawa

Producer Madhouse, FUNimation Entertainment

Original Run January 10, 2015 – March 28, 2015 (12 episodes, finished)

Genre Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Psychological Thriller

Plot 

Humans are either sent to void or reincarnated after death. They arrive at Quindecim at the instance of their death, and are challenged to Death Game that further reveals their real nature. The one who loses will be sent to reincarnate and the one who wins will be sent to void. Meanwhile, the mysterious girl named Chiyuki reveals to be an exception to the rule, as she helps Quindecim do his job as an arbitrer with the sole purpose to retrieve her long lost memories (prior to death) and know her destination based on her nature.

Main Review

So many positive “hands-down” points found in this excellent mind-twisting psychological thriller and drama anime. Words cannot merely express how this anime did an outstanding job in providing so much “feels” in emotional roller coaster scenes and in adding so much “horror” satisfying most the obscure anime aficionados, while playing around the audience’s psyche as much as the character’s lives have been played – making the characters fight with one another and hungry for winning without realizing that their souls would be at stake once sent into void. Death Parade is also more story-based than character-based, which is a rarity among the anime of today. The plot is so originally created and developed to the point that it cannot be easily followed by any other anime, and is additionally paired with the arbiter’s and the dead character’s life stories, which makes the anime worth sympathizing.

The most captivating part is how it teaches the audience the meaning of life. It may appear anti-religion in a sense that the heaven (reincarnation), hell (void) and the judgment day (the game) are portrayed differently from the Bible’s description of them, but further instructs that life has its purpose, is more meaningful than one thinks and that each individual must be reminded to make the most of his or her life before death slays him or her. Also, it underlines the importance of leaving a good legacy to others prior death, meaning to say showing good deeds to oneself, to others and to the environment one lives in. All these are shown through the flashbacks where each dead character finally recalls his or her own life. Chiyuki, for instance, even wishes to relive one’s life and do things one would have done prior to death.

Another add-on to this anime is its plot twist – wherein the direction of the plot turns differently from the audience’s expectations (that the winner will be sent to heaven, while the loser to hell). It turns out that the good souls lose the game and are given a chance to live another life (ie. to be reincarnated), while the bad are sent to void and have their souls turned to puppets. The compare and contrast notion between “Memento Mori” title (episode 11) and the actual episode happenings (wherein Chiyuki’s life story is further revealed in focus) is also what makes the anime enticing, with the title’s literal meaning (“Remember that you must die”) indicating that Chiyuki would have made the most of her precious life prior to death. Or, it can mean the opposite where the dead Chiyuki recalls her life (“Remember that you once lived”).

However, the anime has its drawbacks. Inconsistency is at its finest when the arbiters abruptly show their human emotions after Chiyuki told Quindecim that human souls are not meant to be played, while there should just be earlier scenes indicating where the arbiters are slowly revealing their human sides to show that they are only hiding their emotions as part of the rules (it is what this anime wants to prove isn’t it?) Another shortcoming in Death Parade lies in how it is too cyclical or formulaic to the point that every episode is constructed in exact same way (two dead people encounter one another in front of Quindecim, are asked to play the game, then are either sent to reincarnate or to void). This makes the anime more tedious to tune into that the audience would even lost his or her patience to watch a certain episode, and desperately want to move to the next. Yet, the monotony was broken thankfully enough, when Chiyuki’s life memories were featured in Episode 11.

Despite its negatives, Death Parade still remains a recommendation. Each person (although I am sure that otakus, especially the ones who are into dark anime, are most likely to devor it) must be given a chance to tune into this mind-twisting, dark and emotional roller coaster anime, as it will keep them gruesomely entertained.

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars (9/10)

Sources

Death Parade, MyAnimeList

Death Parade, Wikipedia

Chuunibyou Demo Ga Shitai: A delusion brought to life

chuunibyou

Alternative Names Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Chu-2 Byo demo Koi ga Shitai!, Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!, 中二病でも恋がしたい!

Written By Torako (light novel)

Directed By Tatsuya Ishihara

Producer Kyoto Animation

Original Run 

  • Chuunibyou Demo ga Shitai! (Season 1): October 4, 2012 – December 9, 2012 (12 episodes finished)
  • Chuunibyou Demo ga Shitai! Ren (Season 2): January 8, 2014 – March 26, 2014 (12 episodes finished)
  • Takanashi Rikka Kai: Gekijō-ban Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! (movie): September 14, 2013

Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Plot 

Yuuta, who, after suffering chuunibyou (eighth grade syndrome wherein an affected individual thinks he or she is a superhero and attempts to live like one) in his middle school years as the Dark Flame master, moves to a new high school where none of his classmates would know him for his past. His world turns upside down as he encounters Rikka Takanashi, a chuunibyou victim who also happens to rent a room above his roof.

Main Review

“Reality be rent. Synapse break. Banishment this world.” 

Nothing is more delusional than watching a romantic comedy anime that brings eighth grade delusions into reality. Chuunibyou Demo ga Shitai! did an exceptional job in coming up with an outstanding and original plot that clearly identifies itself from other anime of the same genre, being based on a group of high school students who suffer a particular eighth grade syndrome that brings them to delusion that they are superheroes, as well as in extending to a deeper story line other than a simple typical school and slice of life anime. The art and animation, wherein the delusion brought to life effect as the chuunibyou victims show their claimed superpowers (e.g. Rikka as the Wicked Eye), is worth appreciating for its attractiveness and illusion merged with reality effect.

It is the emotional impact that adds the most flavor in this anime. Its hilarity and wackiness paired with romance, teary-eyed and dramatic moments touch the audience, and even make it worth the nostalgia for the audience who has watched Chuunibyou beforehand. Also, the characters are so well-portrayed that the audience can easily identify to them. There is decent character development and the anime is just at the right pace (neither too fast, nor too slow) with consistent scenes, two of which are additional add-ons to Chuunibyou’s positive side (despite the fact that its second season is a bit more monotonous, and solely focalizes on Satone’s infatuation and clingy moves towards Yuuta and Rikka getting jealous).

And last but not the least, the anime has catchy soundtracks that equally fit its overall theme. The soundtracks that is most appealing to me is the Season 1’s Ending Theme, and I admit that it is so addictive that it constantly plays in my head from time to time and I would just keep listening to it. Main reflected themes in this anime are self-discovery, finding oneself, escaping reality (done through superhero transformation), knowing the bounds and differences between delusions and reality, relationships with family, friends and romantic interests, and being an inner child for once. These are the themes that many teenagers can currently relate to, as well as adults who can reflect back on their childhood, teens and sometimes current adult life, enduring these experiences.

Definitely a recommendation to those who are yearning for a slice of life! It can also be recommended to any person yearning for an interesting anime, as it can appeal to any even to those who are not big fans of light fluffy anime (myself included!)

Chuunibyou-12_18-Rikka-rope-final-moment-ending

Overall Rating 4.95/5 stars (9.9/10)

Sources

Chuunibyou Demo ga Shitai!, MyAnimeList

Chuunibyou Demo ga Shitai!, Wikipedia

Kill la Kill, Dress to Kill: Best Anime of late 2013-2014

Killlakillpromo

Alternative Names Kill la Kill, KLK, キルラキル

Directed By Hiroyuki Imaishi

Producer Trigger

Original Run October 4, 2013 – March 27, 2014

Genre Action, Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, School, Science Fiction, Seinen, Supernatural

Plot 

Seventeen year old student Ryuuko Matoi transfers to Honnouji Academy as to search for the owner of the other half of her scissors that murdered her father. She then receives a powerful sailor uniform named Senketsu, fated to fight against the life fibers that lie in the academy and beyond. Meanwhile, during her school journey, she eventually learns more shocking revelations about her father, his death and the rest of her past.

Main Review

There is so much to love about Kill la Kill more than a one-page essay can describe. One of the aspects to love includes how the anime is seen as a metaphor of materialism, its brought values and its consequences in the society. Materialistic consequences are shown through the fashion contest turned battlefield of fashion wars with a series of sword fights, while the life fiber clothing proves to be the culprit to having materialistic values. It is seen as a source of beauty, glamour, power and high social status, and it later brings bad influences to the bearer driving them to do evil deeds. It is revealed that life fibers further lead to chaos and war, given their nature in choosing a bearer and fighting another life fiber that will lead the bearers to fight themselves. The “humans slavery to clothing” philosophy is sure not to be neglected, and is therefore a perfect portrayal of humans being slaves of clothes and other material possessions in real life.

Other worth-tuning imagery in the series includes “No Late Day,” a wacky portrayal in episode 4 wherein the daily challenges of not coming late to class is translated into a literal amazing race. The student who comes to class the earliest after a series of victory in different encountered contests emerges as a winner, although Ryuuko and Mako end up winning the contest (all thanks to Mako’s tactics) despite showing up late. Another interesting imagery lies in the school popularity ranking based on worn uniforms (Three-star Goku uniform, Two-star Goku uniform, Jengetsu, No-star..), wherein the popular students in the council happen to be the chosen bearers of life fibers and the unpopular ones wear an ordinary school uniform.

It appeals me to see how woman take major roles in a fighter anime. It is rare for women and men to be main characters and sidekicks respectively in the anime of named genre, although Kill la Kill is more about fashion trend that is typically considered a hype for females. This alone already makes the series unique and distinguishable, being the sole male-oriented fighter anime with women as main characters. Not forgetting to mention that Kill la Kill has taught many lessons on importance of human relationships over ambitions and material possessions (as seen through Ryago’s defeat, who is only interested in fulfilling with ambitions and using her kinsmen to achieve them in contrast with her daughters claimed to fight together) and any related virtues – friendship, sacrifice, compassion, teamwork and fighting for justice together. Self-discovery and acceptance of discovered past (as seen through Ryuuko and Satsuki who are trying to cope with their learned past despite learning it the hard way) also reveal to be the anime’s two of the most crucial themes.

And finally, the overall entertainment (the wackiness, the “ecchi” scenes, the full-loaded action, the gore and morbidity seen through Nui’s ripping of heart, regeneration of wounds, cut arms and separation of head from the rest of the body) and the unpredictable well-crafted plot make Kill la Kill worth-tuning to. There is a whole lot of progression in the second half of the series, despite the generic, repetitive and sometimes confusing episodes that dominated the first half. The interesting characters, the enticing ships (well..thank you fanservice!), the inclusion of French terms like “La vie est drole ” (life is funny in itself) and “oui maman ” (yes mommy) that emphasizes the fashion culture environment (France is typically known as the country of fashion, perfume and gastronomy), and the background music that well fit the fighting scene atmosphere and the overall theme of the anime are as worth-appreciating. Its old school anime vibe (the pre-2000’s art, action, and comedy style and a few references to classic fighter and mecha anime) makes Kill la Kill identifiable from the rest of the modern anime, enticing old school fanatics to watch it further especially with such progressively driven plot.

The ending, however, is not as good in contrast with the popular belief. It would have been better if the finale is less of a cliffhanger (Ryago would have been defeated for a deeper reason than just ripping her own heart after a sudden realization that humans can never be fused with clothing) and involves more exposure on Senketsu’s disintegration teary eyed scene. Likewise, it would have been better if Ryuuko would have made more efforts in her fights until her mother gets defeated and the life fibers should have disappeared by actually having the original fiber defeated (and not when Ryuuko calls on them that humans can never be fused with clothing). Another flaw in the anime lies in the repetitive episodes at the first half, which makes the audience think that he or she is wasting his or her time (no matter how entertaining they can be). Despite the presented flaws, Kill la Kill still remains an anime series filled with awesome “feels”.

“Yeah, we’re neither humans nor clothing. But at the same time, we are humans, and clothing, and EVERYTHING ELSE. Humans can’t becoming clothing. Humans are humans and clothing is clothing! THAT’S JUST WHO WE ARE!” – Ryuuko and Senketsu (credits to littlecloudcuriosity.com).

kill-la-kill-episode-24-87

My favorite ship in the series ~

photo1

Overall Rating 4.75/5 stars (9.5/10)

Sources

Kill la Kill, MyAnimeList

Kill la Kill, Wikipedia

“Kill la Kill Episode 24 FINALE AND END SERIES REVIEW”

Further Reading

“No-holds-barred insanity in Kill la Kill,” GMA News

Corpse Party: the game of trials, horror, blood fights, and surviving to the fittest

CorpseParty

Directed By Akira Iwanaga

Producer Asreed

Original Run

Corpse Party Missing Footage: August 2, 2012 (1 Episode, Finished)
Corpse Party Tortured Souls: July 24, 2013 (4 Episodes, Finished)

Genre Horror, Psychological

Plot

A group of high school students are brought to Heavenly Host Elementary School (located at the same area as their current school years ago) after telling ghost stories to each other and performing a certain charm. This is where a series of student and staff murders and disappearances took place, thus haunted by murdered school children.

Main Review

Plucked eyes, ruthless killings, scenes filled with blood..all these make Corpse Party into an excellent brutal gore anime. It is as disturbing as expected due to astounding sound effects and actual scenes providing an eerie atmosphere, and the story line best qualifies Corpse Party as one of the renowned gore anime of our time. It is a survival game where a group of high school friends attempt to escape the haunting of murdered children in Heavenly Host Elementary School. The anime has managed to captivate the audience with fear and disturbance, despite having a deja-vu survival plot.

The sequence of plot is to be appreciated. I love how each happening is organized into five OVAs (original video animation), starting from the prologue where the actual murder took place to the final ending where only two of the friends have survived and found their way back.  Each of the OVA is best in telling its own story descriptively. While The Missing Footage is based on the anime prologue, the remaining OVAs are based on the actual story line of survival and escape. Each Tortured Souls OVA represents the chapter of survival. The first OVA is based on the charm performance and the transportation, while the last OVA is about knowing the culprit behind the murder and the last attempts to escape.

I cannot find what is not to like in this anime. The lack of originality may hinder it from being perfect, yet its high fearful and disturbing impact has well outlawed its flaw. Corpse Party is highly recommended to gore and horror aficionados, given the high gore level that it provides through its extreme bloodshot scenes. Definitely better than Danganronpa, a mediocre adaptation of the same genre, and Mirai Nikki, a gore anime that only seeks to please the mainstream (reason why it is considered to fall under horror and romance, with so much light horror and romance in it).

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars (9/10)

Sources

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls MyAnime List

Corpse Party Wikipedia

No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular! WATAMOTE Review ♡ ~

51619l

Alternative Names

Watamote,
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!,
No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular!,
It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular!,
私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い!

Written By Nico Tanigawa

Directed By Shin Onuma

Producer Silver Link

Original Run July 8, 2013 – September 24, 2013 (12 episodes finished)

Genre Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life

Plot

Fifteen year old Tomoko Kuroki has 50+ years of dating experience in the Otome Game World with 100 boys. Wishing that it would be the same in high school, she sadly realizes that she is a socially awkward individual who yearns to fit in.

Main Review

Perhaps it is the society’s fault that Tomoko Kuroki turned into a “misfit”. She clearly blames reality for how she was turned into a loner, simply because she cannot relate to any of her classmates (and tends to bash on what they are into) and highly expects that life in reality is the same as in the game she plays. Yet, she fails to realize that she is just having a hard time to communicate and relate to people. Watamote is centered on an alienated individual who struggles to fit in and has done a great job in highlighting these struggles in the detailed, well-described scenes where Tomoko attempts to be as popular, to have as many friends and to date as many boys, all of which she ends failing at.

The depressing and tragic atmosphere makes the anime fulfill its purpose. Its main purpose is to make Tomoko worth-sympathizing, as well as to create a typical loner story line where other socially awkward introverts can relate to burdens she has faced (my 15 year old self can totally relate to Tomoko’s life story, being as socially awkward as her back then). Self-alienation, isolation, strong desire and struggle to fit in are Watamote’s crucial themes. Teenage burdens – including family problems and strong desire for popularity and having many friends – are as emphasized like in other school anime.

Not forgetting to mention that Watamote is unpredictable. It is often predicted that Tomoko would end up being popular as she has always wanted (and ends up regretting it later on), yet it turns out that she has given up realizing she is not fit enough for the category. The soundtracks and the artwork, however, are indifferent. Both opening and ending themes may be catchy, yet are trying hard to fit the anime’s central theme (and do not entirely succeed).

Despite its areas of success lies the areas of improvement. One of these weaknesses includes its dragging scenes. There are instances when the audience feels like he or she is only wasting his or her time to watch one episode, and he or she would rather do something else than keeping up with Watamote. Another weakness lies in the stereotyping, wherein Tomoko is revealed to be an anime/manga otaku and a hardcore gamer. This heavily implies that lovers of anime, manga and video games tend to be loners with poor social life, or that loners tend to be anime, manga and video game lovers. It would be best if the main character has a more developed profile other than a mere isolated gamer and otaku (e.g. can be a character who has a sad past, doesn’t get along with his or her family, been left by his or her best friend for other friends and is now struggling to become popular believing that he or she  can find himself or herself there). Likewise, it would be best if the scenes are done in a more worth-tuning way.

The anime is as far as impressive. It has well outlined the futility of being popular with heaps of friends, as shown how Tomoko ended up surrendering due to such sudden realization. Meanwhile, it has clearly achieved its purpose into making the audience sympathize with Tomoko and relate to her. The plot well describes the sad life of the loner as it intends to, although it can be more developed with less stereotypes and more thrilling scenes.

photo (1)

Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars (7.5/10)

Sources

Watamote MyAnimeList

Watamote Wikipedia

Gin No Saji: Best Anicomedy of Summer 2013

49237l

Alternative Names Silver Spoon, 銀の匙

Written by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Producer A-1 Pictures

Original Run July 12, 2013 – September 19, 2013 (11 episodes, finished)

Genre Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life

Plot

Dreaming of a path different from his family of businessmen, Yuugo Hachiken moves from the city and enrolls in an agricultural school, believing he will excel just by studying hard. He then realizes his need to adjust to his new environment, while slowly adapting to the farm life and practices.

Main Review

Great story line, catchy soundtracks, well-designed artworks. All of these define Gin No Saji. Words cannot fully explain how much I have loved this anime since its first episode. Despite a simple story line based on a regular agriculture student, the anime does not fail to entertain the audience with lighthearted comedy. The anime itself highlights themes related to life-learning, including adaptation to new environment (which Yuugo is currently facing), pursuit of one’s dreams, knowing oneself, taking risks, having a life direction different from family and doing one’s best to whichever life has to offer or in spite of obstacles coming along the path.

A few dragging moments may be the flaw in this anime. And since they are far minor, the anime still manages to entertain the audience while still keeping itself at a right pace.

Currently loving the second season so far. May the second be as best in Winter as the first during the Summer (both in Japan seasons).

Overall Rating 4.90/5 stars (9.8/10)

Sources

Gin no Saji, MyAnimeList

Gin no Saji, Wikipedia

Bands, school, friendship and strong bonds..that’s K-On!

47693l

Alternative Names Keion, けいおん!

Written by Kakifly

Directed by Naoko Yamada

Producer Kyoto Animation

Original Run

  • K-On! (Season 1): April 3, 2009 – June 26, 2009 (13 episodes finished)
  • K-On!! (Season 2): April 7, 2010 – September 28, 2010 (26 episodes finished)
  • K-On Movie: December 3, 2011

Genre Comedy, Music, School, Slice of Life

Plot

Four girls join Light Music Club (otherwise known as Keion or K-On) for different reasons: Ritsu – to pursue her dreams as a musician and to prevent the club from dissolving, Mio – as pushed by Ritsu, Mugi – as a mere passerby looking for a club to join and Yui, who has never joined a club and was impressed with the club despite not knowing any instruments other than castanets – to avoid being labeled as a NEET. The band is later joined by Azusa who, impressed by their performance, is drowned in belief that the band members are professional musicians who will inspire her to play.

Main Review

There is more to K-On than being a cliched moe (fluffy, cotton-candy like) school band anime. The story line is simple yet provides a realistic (but can be idealistic) view of a high school band leading a double life as students and band members. It simply reminds the audience of his or her high school days wherein the characters are highly focused on their career goals and university choices, are dedicated to clubs related to their passions, and spend time with their friends in and outside their clubs. Band members such as myself can also relate to Hokago Tea Time’s (HTT, it’s the name of their band) experiences as a band. The anime has highlighted a typical band biography including how it started, its performances, band retreats and rehearsals, the rituals (eating pastries and drinking tea during club meetings), and the relationship between the band members and their common dedicated passion to music.

Another aspects to appreciate are the well-portrayed and cute characters. One can identify himself or herself to each of the main characters in terms of personality and their personal experiences. The excellent typical moe art and the soundtracks (except for the song about rice, which I don’t personally appreciate) are as worth-appreciating. Lessons highlighted in K-On are not to be neglected, with friendship, strong bonds, dedication, hard work, team work and passion as its crucial themes. The anime’s description of team work may be seen as optimistic (rather idealistic), yet can serve as an inspiration/model to better cope as a group. Such model is seen through the band fighting the problems altogether (e.g. making the unmotivated motivated, trying to stop Mio and Ritsu from fighting..), pouring their souls into performing music, and keeping the friendship alive in and outside the club meeting as part of maintaining a good relationship and ambiance within the band.

Meanwhile, the development of the story line remains the anime’s core area of improvement. It is oversimplified compared to other anime with excellent and well-developed story lines, yet is better than anime with underdeveloped story lines. K-On becomes dragging as it reaches its second season. It is unnecessarily long, containing simple scenes that are only made long for the sake of doing so. Even the movie can be far as dragging. The only interesting part is when the entire band travels to London as part of club retreat.

The lack of originality is also considered a major flaw in K-On. Many anime, manga, and even movies and TV series have already adapted the similar story line and some can even make it more developed than K-On’s.

Despite the flaws, K-On remains worth a watch . It has well highlighted the importance of working well as a band, making itself an inspiration to aspiring band members (or team members in general) when it comes to dealing with co-members and doing their best in their tasks (writing songs and playing instruments) with passion. Those touching, emotional and comedic moments are its major appreciated aspects, paired with the character’s appeal and interesting identities that makes the characters identifiable to the audience. It is definitely recommended to fans of comedy, school, slice of life and musicals, and to others yearning to explore different genres.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars (8/10)

Sources

K-On! MyAnimeList

K-On! Wikipedia

Up ↑