Every Anime I Can Remember Reviewed, Update I
Posted by Doug on January 24, 2010
I’ve decided that the way I’m going to handle this very long-term project is to episodically make a separate post with a my review of a few more anime series, the contents of which will also be added to the main reviews page. This has the advantage of turning one huge task into a bunch of little tasks, which may not ultimately be easier, but it certainly seems easier. Reviews for Agent Aika, Gunparade March, His and Hers Circumstances, Naruto, Speed Grapher, and Witch Hunter Robin are under the fold!
Agent Aika (a.k.a. AIKa)
Synopsis: Aika is a salvage expert who has a magic bra that gives her superpowers. Lots of excuses for pantyshots and other forms of wholly gratuitous fanservice occur; all are thoroughly exploited. Review: Okay, I know this one sounds really, really stupid, and you know what? It is. It really is. But I just couldn’t relegate this one to Grade F because it was just hilarious. Unintentionally so, but hilarious nonetheless, in a it’s-so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. I mean, really, her bra gives her fricking superpowers? How stupid is that? (well, I say that, but there were those magic talking cat panties in Magikano…)
Synopsis: Gigantic aliens overwhelm the Earth, and after tremendous losses, Japan starts drafting teenagers to pilot mecha in a last-ditch effort to not be utterly annihilated by the aliens. The conscripts of the 5121st Platoon struggle both to fight back against the aliens, and also to have something of a normal social life. Review: One of the better anime that nobody has ever watched or even seems to remember, Gunparade March was very inspirational to me back in the day when I was cobbling together a mecha anime-themed pen-and-paper RPG (but that is a story for another day). The twelve-episode anime starts out focusing on the action, and ends dwelling on the budding romance between the lead characters Atsushi Hayami and Mai Shibamura. The mecha action could have been better, and the romance plot would be better if interwoven with the action rather than more-or-less replacing it towards the end, but after writing this review, I kind of want to watch it again. Maybe I will.
Naruto, Naruto Shippuden
“If someone can’t even save a friend, then I don’t think they deserve to be Hokage. Do you, Sasuke?”
Synopsis: Naruto Uzumaki is a ninja-in-training who aspires to be Hokage, leader of his village of ninja, to make people accept him. Believe it! Review: Okay, first off, let me say that the Naruto manga is one of my favorites—if I were to do a review of manga, it would easily be Grade S. The anime, too, would be Grade S, as it stays pretty loyal to the manga…about half the time. There is a lot of filler arcs (storylines made up to pad the anime while waiting for the manga artist Masashi Kishimoto to publish more manga), and the filler is very hit-or-miss, with a strong emphasis on the “miss”, varying from a little Grade A material all the way down to some truly horrendous Grade F dreck. The characters are great fun, especially Shikamaru (even moreso when Temari is around), Rock Lee, and Might Guy (yeah, if you’ve never seen the series, you have no clue who I’m talking about, so I’m really not sure why I’m mentioning it. But really, Shikamaru×Temari OTP!). Fans of Dragon Ball in particular might want to check this one out, as Dragon Ball was one of Kishimoto’s inspirations when creating Naruto (totally different art styles, though), and comparisons between the two are not uncommon. Note: When it comes to pronouncing “Naruto”, the emphasis is on the first syllable (NAH-roo-toh), not the middle syllable (nah-ROO-toh). Just sayin’.
Synopsis: Freelance photographer Saiga investigates a secret fetish club for the wealthy elite, gains the power to destroy anything he tries to take a picture of, and rescues the teenage daughter of one of the most powerful women in Japan from the club. Review: As one might guess, this one was rated TV-MA, but really, who cares? The villains are perverted, and their superpowers tap into their perversions (one chick loves diamonds to the point that her body has turned into diamond, making her virtually invincible…so she has a tendency to walk around buck naked and rob jewellery stores so she can eat the diamonds like Mentos. Another guy, a dentist, gets off by drilling holes in people’s teeth, and his power gives him a large number of tentacular appendages, each with a drill on them; his “patients” rarely survive). Very weird, but worth checking out.
Witch Hunter Robin
Synopsis: In this modern-day urban fantasy, Robin Sena is a “craft-user” who uses her ability to create and control fire to hunt down “witches” as part of the elite police group STN-J. Of course, the difference between “craft-user” and “witch” is only a matter of whether or not the STN-J approves of you… Review: I saw a multi-page spread of production artwork for Witch Hunter Robin in Newtype USA (back when they were still publishing), and decided to pick this series up based purely on that. And indeed, the artwork and animation is top-notch. It would probably be Grade A if it weren’t so dry and humorless (no comic relief whatsoever in this series, which really needed something to break up the relentless tension; I can’t even remember anyone cracking a smile). At first I thought the ending was really weak, in that it did not explain what happened to the lead characters, but then I realized that part of the finale of the series was embedded in the opening credits sequence…
His and Hers Circumstances (a.k.a. Kare Kano, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō)
“I’m a big fake. The elegant me is just for show. My good personality is a huge lie. In reality, I only love to be revered above all by others. To be admired, to get special treatment, to be pampered, to be first place… I’m the ultimate queen of vanity!”
Synopsis: Yukino Miyazawa pretends to be the perfect student in order to get attention, but is really a stubborn, spoiled, slob; Soichiro Arima is her rival, a perfect student that is secretly struggling to get out from underneath the shadow of his criminal parents. They fall in love, and resolve to be themselves. Review: Shōjo anime at its finest. I was surprised to find that this series was directed by Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno; I cannot fathom how this series could be any more different from Evangelion. In any case, Kare Kano mixes romance and comedy extremely well in a believable world full of believable and compelling characters.
More reviews to come (eventually)!