Monday, February 25, 2008


Full Title: RahXephon
Genres: Action, Drama, Mystery, Mecha, Psychological, Romance, Science Fiction
Episodes: 26
Uploaded By: Mavrik
My Age Rating: PG-13 (Mild Language, Violence, Adult Situations)

Ayato Kamina is your average (who isn't these days anyway?) Japanese boy living in Tokyo in a sort of apocalyptic future where major countries have disappeared and war has diminished much of the world's population. He has a quiet and uneventful life with a caring, if perpetually absent mother and his faithful best friends. Uneventful, that is, until the day his city is nearly destroyed by an air raid. In the chaos, he gets separated from his friends and meets up with a mysterious girl from his class who leads him to a most bizarre weapon. A weapon that immediately bonds with him. Suddenly the world is no longer as it appears, and he finds himself being separated from his beloved city by another girl, one from a forgotten past.

This anime is fantastic to say the least. I am not exactly what you'd call a mecha fan, in fact I usually dislike them, but the story this anime puts together is tight and addictive whether you enjoy giant man-shaped robots or not. The ending can be a bit confusing, no it doesn't go Evangelion, but it definitely requires the viewer to pay attention to some confusing dialog in previous episodes in order to figure out exactly what transpired. This anime is definitely not for lazy viewing as it requires some thought. It's also not very cheery; when the characters start to die, they fall fast. The plot is fairly quick, and the action is brutal. There is also a thick psychological layer to this show the depth of which I found rather surprising.

Production-wise this series is very well done. No 3-D effects. It's hand-drawn every detail, and everything looks great. No flaws in the voice acting section, and the musical score is inventive and fresh. The opening is clean, and the credits are thought-provoking to say the least. All the characters are believable and interesting with no real cookie-cutter types anywhere. I would recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys rich, deep plots, for this is something this series definitely excels at. It's pretty much a must see...

My Rating: 8.9/10 (Excellent)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rumbling Hearts

Full Title: Rumbling Hearts
Genres: Drama, Romance, Tragedy
Episodes: 14
Uploaded By: Penad8
My Age Rating: MA (Language, Violence, Nudity, Adult Situations, Sexual Themes)

Takayuki Narumi is a friendly and quite popular high school student who hangs out with three really good friends (two girls and Shinji, his best friend) who are all almost inseparable from each other. Little does he know that the two girls of the group have a crush on him. Mitsuki, feeling sorry for the timid other girl, allows Haruka (the other girl) to date him first thinking that the relationship would be short, and then he'd be freed up for her to be with. Much to her surprise and disappointment, the unlikely pair she encouraged to be together soon develop a full-on romance for each other, and a lasting (maybe lifelong) relationship seems to be in the works. That is until freak car accident where Haruka is put into a coma, and Takayuki, having witnessed the bloodstained sidewalks where the car struck her, is thrown into a deep depression...

This anime is a fascinating watch to say the least. The love triangle it puts together is the best in any anime I have ever seen... period. The tension near the end is almost unbearable, and the conclusion is fitting. The problem with this kind of anime is, well, it may be too good for its own good. You will inevitably find yourself connecting to either one of the two girls and begin mentally rooting for her to be the one that wins his heart, but if your girl loses (as mine did...) well... its devastating enough to lessen the appeal of the anime. It was only after reflecting on it that I realized how good this series really is, cause let's face it, while I was watching I was far too caught up in the story to take notes on animation and such.

Fear not however, production-wise this anime is top notch. The animation sequences are smooth. The opening theme section and ending credits are both well done, and the music is incredible. The voice acting is usually dead on, which is very hard to do with such complicated characters. (It is obvious a lot of budget went into this, more than necessary, but I'm not complaining.) Because there is nudity, I would not recommend this to younger viewers. If you're over the age of 18, and don't despise good romance drama, you should definitely check this one out, it's darned near perfect. (The minus 1.3 points mostly comes from Takayuki's annoying co-workers.)

My Rating: 8.7/10 (Excellent)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now and Then, Here and There

Full Title: Now and Then, Here and There
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Military, Science Fiction
Episodes: 13
Uploaded By: Mavrik
My Age Rating: PG-13 (Language, Graphic Violence, Disturbing Themes)

Ever woke up one morning and thought to yourself, "You know what? I want to be really, really depressed today..." Well, then do I have the anime for you. I started watching this one after hearing all the good things about it, and make no mistake it is very good, but if you're looking for complete and utter lack of happiness, Now and Then, Here and There is for you. After the sunny, happy-go-lucky first episode, things go to hell... fast... It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. It's utterly horrifying, but you can't look away... *shutter* anyway, on to the review...

Shu is an average Japanese boy with a not so average sunny disposition on life. Everything has room for improvement, and life is great. (He also seems to have very little fear of dangerous situations, but that kinda helps him later so...) One day, while walking home from kendo practice, he spots a mysterious girl watching the sunset from one of the abandoned large industrial smoke stacks in his neighborhood. He climbs up one of the other ones and has a sort of one sided conversation with her for awhile. That is until a couple robots show up, snatch her away, and accidentally take Shu with them, 6 billion years into Earth's future...

Yep, this anime has it all... plenty of murder, training the young to kill, showing the young killing each other, death of the innocent, weapons of mass destruction, child abuse, child torture, child rape, purposefully impregnating little girls, and all around cruelty most anime won't touch. Most of the really bad stuff is not shown, which allows the anime to mantain it's PG-13 rating, but don't be fooled, many of the twelve episodes will leave you staring in blank horror at what you have just witnessed as the credits roll. It's also not an anime you will probably ever want to see again. That being said, it has my full recommendation and should be viewed by just about every anime fan at least once.

Even though the anime itself is not very old, the production is a bit old looking. Don't let this deter you, the show is great and the animation sequences are incredibly smooth. No 3D effects, but eh, I'll take realistic movements over those any day. The voice acting is great, especially later on, though you'll probably want to shoot yourself rather than listen to another crying child again. The opening is... low budget to say the least, but the ending is nice. I'm not sure how this anime will affect you, so, you kinda have to know yourself whether you can handle something like this. All I can say is that it never gets too graphic, and it is well worth the watch. (Oh, and it has a way of haunting your dreams...)

My Rating: 8.2/10 (Excellent)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Trinity Blood

Full Title: Trinity Blood
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Supernatural
Episodes: 24
Uploaded By: Mavrik
My Age Rating: PG-13 (Mild Language, Graphic Violence)

Being my first anime and the show single-handedly responsible for luring me into this dark, depressing lifestyle of watching anime alone on my pc and then telling you all about it, I will have a little bit of bias when writing this one. Take the following review with a pinch of salt, not like you don't anyway...

The world is carved into two factions, vampire and human. Trinity Blood follows, for the most part, the bizarre and slightly odd individual known as Abel Nightroad. Abel is a seemingly normal human priest working for the Vatican who, in this post-apocalyptic future, are a major force in the world. Seemingly benign and harmless, Abel has a couple secrets up his sleeve. He is a key member of a special operations team by the name of Ax, not to mention that he is also the result of an ancient experiment to find something that could rid the world of vampires, a crusnik (or vampire that feeds on the blood of other vampires.) His duties with the Vatican lead him to a young not-so-innocent girl, who could be the key to the world's survival.

I hate saying this, but this show is terribly cliched. It took a bit of anime viewing to arrive at this conclusion, but arrive I did, I guess. Furthermore, the thrill of the show comes from taking interest in the survival of every other character but Abel because, for most of the series, Abel's power is so overwhelming that's it not a question of if he is going to use it and make all the bad guys go away, it's a question of when. Although the power doesn't seem to do him any harm as long as he drinks some vampire blood afterward, he seems insanely over-hesitant to use it, even when his friends are in mortal danger. He has no problem violently (and gruesomely) cutting a vampire in two in the first episode because said vampire killed a handful of people, but he hesitates to kill another vampire later in the series who he catches in the act of murdering thousands to millions of innocent civilians. This double standard is a bit... odd to say the least. Needless to say, this anime will leave many of its viewers befuddled.

Also, the series would have done much better focusing on action. The action centered episodes are BY FAR the best because face it, nobody cares about politics these days (especially imaginary ones.) That being said I tended to enjoy the slowness of the series. Trinity Blood likes to flaunt its huge budget by putting gloriously detailed screen after gloriously detailed screen between action scenes... and I, for one, am not complaining as I thoroughly enjoy that kind of thing, but I also know some of you won't like it. Also, the lack of a definite ending will make some distraught, though there is a tribute to the now dead original creator Trinity Blood I find touching.

That brings us to the production which is the main component to Trinity Blood's success, and call me shallow, but it's one of the reasons I started watching anime. In short, it's non-stop beautiful. Earlier said large budget allows some of the most seamless mix of cartoon drawings and effects in existence, it also allows for a very pretty opening title song sequence and ending credit sequence, both of which are definitely worth your time. The voice acting is pretty much flawless, if a wee bit generic, and the music accompanying the story is majestic to say the least. Although it's hard to pin down an exact audience this show would appeal to, I would recommend at least trying Trinity Blood, it's quite tasty I assure you.

My Rating: 7.7/10 (Very Good)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ai Yori Aoshi

Full Title: Ai Yori Aoshi
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Harem, Romance, Slice of Life
Episodes: 24
Uploaded By: Penad8
My Age Rating: PG-13 (Mild Language, Adult Situations, Brief Nudity)

Kaoru Hanabishi appears to be an ordinary university student living an average single life. That is until the day he met a random girl at the train station searching for a long lost boy she used to know. Over the course of helping her find the boy, he discovers that he is the boy, and she is an old childhood friend of his by the name of Aoi Sakuraba, furthermore, his arranged fiancee. This revelation brings Kaoru back memories of his terrible childhood, and why he left the Hanabishi clan in the first place. On top of wanting him to return, Aoi reveals to him that she still loves him and has every intention of becoming his wife.

I downloaded this anime on a whim, not reading anything about it ahead of time as I usually do, and for a couple episodes, I was pleasantly surprised. As stupid as this plot line sounds, it works for awhile because the chemistry between the two main characters is genuinely sweet. He is an incredibly nice guy who has a few shortcomings but not anything drastic, and she seems to have some sort of deep rooted affection for him stemming from there childhood together. The dynamic duo, along with both of them dealing with the emotional (and physical) scars of his dark past, set up this series to be a top notch anime, and the first few episodes are some of the best of any romance series I have seen to date.

Then episode 5 rolls around, a
nd the worst thing that could possibly happen to the series happens. It's like BAM harem. What the hell? Suddenly there are barely any romantic moments between the two main characters at all, and when there are, they are ALWAYS interrupted by one idiot or another. I'm sure the directors were trying to make us wish the two could have some time alone, but I'm not sure they wanted to make the interrupters so annoying that I wish each a gruesome death. Unfunny boob-fondling and constant inappropriate jokes aside, the relationship between the two main characters just stagnates. Nothing happens, and it happens at the slowest pace possible. Finally, at the end of the series, there's a little bit more movement, but it feels like it took 20 episodes to accomplish what the first four did in each of their allotted 20 minutes. Even with all the waiting, the series still doesn't end up where I wanted it to... There is a sequel, but I'm not planning on watching it...

Production wise, this romance is better than most. Visually, it's pretty, and the animation is fairly smooth. (The studio took extra care to make the ones with big boobs have very fluid motion...) The opening sequence is... ok... I should have seen it as a forewarning... having all those girls fly by and what not... the ending credits aren't bad either. Generic, but eh... If anything disappoints you, it'll be the voice acting, which can be very flat at times, especially from Aoi. Throughout the series, she goes from sounding unsure (on purpose) to sounding like a mechanical robot trying to sound unsure. All in all, I recommend seeing the first few episodes. They are the reminders of how good this show could have been... Otherwise, steer clear unless you are a fan of five minutes of material for every hour of gratuitous boob jokes...

My Rating: 5.2/10 (Fair)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Innocent Venus

Full Title: Innocent Venus
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Mecha, Military, Science Fiction
Episodes: 12
Uploaded By: Mavrik
My Age Rating: PG-13 (Language, Intense Violence, Disturbing Themes)

Question: What do a knife licking bada$$, a seemingly black and white duo, a mysterious girl who happens to be the key to something of world changing importance, mechas that aren't exactly what they at first appear, a turncoat special ops captain, a post-apocalyptic future, and various other overused plot elements have in common? They're all main story components of Innocent Venus, and they are all completely unoriginal.

The world is split into two factions, the Logos (the rich and the few) who maintain their dominance over the Revenus (the poor and the plenty) by means of military might. The story revolves around a pair of friends who are, strangely enough, risking their lives to protect a seemingly harmless young girl codenamed Venus. Everybody seems to want to get to Venus for the same (unexplained until later) purpose, but in order to lay a hand on her, they have to get through the two military Benedicts first. Helped by a young (insanely annoying) native Revenus, the two are taking her somewhere to achieve their own ends...

Um... yeah. This anime has a lot to say but, unfortunately, none of it is the slightest bit original. Every single character in this anime has not only been done before, they've been done better. Every single plot device used has punched the proverbial horse at least once. That being said, you'll probably end up liking it anyway. Yeah, sure it throws the same ingredients in the pot, but it's all in the way it's stirred I guess because this anime held my attention from "Hell" to "The World" (first and last episodes) quite well. Whether the horses this anime takes a whack at are dead yet is really up to the viewer.

As for the production, it really couldn't be any better. The action sequences are smooth, and except for a couple fight scenes, the 3D effects are blended well with the animation. The animation itself is interesting as it seems to have gone through special measures to make itself look like a crisper, cleaner version of the hand drawn animes of old. The opening sequence and the ending credits are worth your time at least once, and the voice acting won't disappoint you either. This is a very good anime to watch for inexperienced anime fans; it could end up being your favorite. As for the experienced ones, this will lose points for being same-old-same-old, but I recommend you see it anyway. Just for the pretty drawings if nothing else.My Rating: 6.8/10 (Good)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Full Title: Gantz
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Horror, Psychological, Science Fiction, Supernatural
Episodes: 26
Uploaded By: Mavrik
My Age Rating: MA (Strong Language, Intense Graphic Violence, Adult Situations, Nudity, Sexual Themes)

Kei Kurono is your average (insanely selfish and perverted) high school student. He is in a constant state of thinking about nobody but himself, and he refuses to do anything unless there is obvious personal gain for him at the end. That is, until the day he and an old accomplice of his save a homeless man from being run over by a train at the cost of their lives. That day on the railroad tracks, he died... or did he? He has the memory of his death; his decapitated head sent flying by the force of the train's impact on his body, but for some reason he's alive, along with his friend. They come to standing in a room with other "dead" people and a large black sphere named Gantz. After a bit of commotion, the ball begins handing out guns and body suits. Let the game begin...

This anime has an incredibly bleak outlook on humanity... I was kinda put off by it myself, but I know many people actually see the world this way so, eh... This anime is chuck full of blood, gore, nudity, profanity, and things that go bang when you pull the trigger, underneath all this there is a moral and a coming-of-age story (sort of). Though the story drags at times (to the point where viewers can get really impatient), you'll probably find yourself watching it to the end regardless of whether you like it or not. Morbid fascination is my best guess to this phenomenon.

Gantz is a hard anime to rate objectively for me, but I'll do my best. It's animation is absolutely brilliant. Because it goes for a realistic look, there is much attention to detail, whether it be the flying innards of a man exploding from the inside-out, or the breasts of an entire classroom of girls, it's all drawn terrifically. The motion is smooth as well. The opening, set to a fast tempo, is really well made, and the credits are fairly thought provoking. The music for this anime is dead on as well. You may not like the voice actors doing the acting, but they do a pretty good job. I guess the best way to describe this series is to say that it is an exercise in excess. If you think you can handle it, you should at least give Gantz a try...

My Rating: 7.8/10 (Very Good)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Midori Days

Full Title: Midori Days
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Episodes: 13
Uploaded By: Penad8
My Age Rating: MA (Mild Language, Nudity, Adult Situations)

True love is a difficult thing to find for most men, not to mention guys with reputations as ruthless bullies, and Seiji Sawamura is no exception. Seiji is the tough guy in his high school. He is known throughout the town as the boy with the Demon Right Hand, and he lives his life beating the crap out of his enemies one second and then being rejected by girls (out of fear of him) the next. A fact that has him depressed and wondering if he'll spend the rest of his life with only his right hand to... um... well, "love" him. This apparently doesn't change when one day, as he's in his room moping about his single life, his right hand miraculously changes into a tiny girl who calls herself Midori. Furthermore, Midori confesses that she has loved Seiji for a long time (three years) and wants to be his girlfriend... (craziness ensues)

This story is... bizarre to say the least. I know what you're thinking, it's going to be filled with indecent, raunchy jokes, but truthfully, there aren't many in here as most of the humor comes from Seiji trying to keep Midori a secret. There is a surprising amount of nudity, however. One hot tub episode has a topless girl front and center of the screen for a good long time (just a warning.) Although the storyline is good, some details that more anal anime viewers may like to know are left out. There is no real clear explanation as to why the main catalyst to the events ever happened in the first place besides the fact that Midori wanted it to, and the insanely small number of people that end up knowing about Midori is also a bit unbelievable as she's right out in the open many times. If you can suspend your disbelief though, you'll probably like at least some of Midori Days.

This anime is fairly appealing to the eye. Fast movement, though rare, is handled smoothly, and the characters voices are very well performed. Some episodes (6 and 7 in particular) may annoy you, but most of them are very well written. In the end, though, this is a romance story, and the ending is a bit predictable (right down to the setting) for any experienced anime viewer. The opening is a pleasant watch, and the credits, set to a slow contemplative song, are also nice. Because there are shameless nude scenes present, I would not recommend this anime to everyone, but overall, this fresh new spin on a romance series is quite appealing... actually, the best word to describe the show would have to be "cute".My Rating: 7.0/10 (Very Good)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fruits Basket

Full Title: Fruits Basket
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Supernatural
Episodes: 26
Uploaded By: Mavrik
My Age Rating: PG (Mild Language, Violence)

I feel like I'm stepping into a minefield reviewing this one, but here goes... (Have mercy on my soul!)

Torhu Honda's life is anything but a daydream. Her father died when she was little, and a terrible accident just claimed the life of her loving mother. To make matters worse, her grandfather is having renovations done on his house so living there is not an option. Alone and too selfless to consider asking her friends to take her in, she decides to live in a tent out in the woods by herself. That is, until the day she discovers she is living on property owned by three boys in the Sohma family. Feeling compassion for the girl, they allow her to stay with them. Complications arise however, when she accidentally embraces them, and they instantly become various animals of the zodiac. The result of an ancient family curse.

Although this series takes an obvious lean toward female audiences, it is chalk full of hilarious moments for whoever watches it. The banter back and forth between the characters is among the best in any anime. Awkward moments and bizarre occurrences are played off just right and a cheery atmosphere resides over the majority of the series, mostly thanks to the infallibility of Tohru's good nature, but under the fluff lies a very touching and (many times) incredibly sad story about acceptance (or lack thereof). If I have one complaint about the series, it's its lack of any sort of romantic development. It starts getting good at the end, and then it ends; forcing me to spend an entire day reading the fricken manga to figure out who eventually ends up with whom. Furthermore, the curse is not solved in the anime, she just earns some sort of acceptance into the family, so if you like stories to have proper endings expect to be reading some manga after your done watching this one.

this anime is very enjoyable. As I said earlier, the dialog is hilarious, and comedic timing is dead on. Overly girly storyline and atmosphere may deter some viewers and some of the later episodes (especially those dealing with the Yuki Fan Club) can be downright annoying, but the series is, for the most part, smooth flowing and easy to get caught up in. When, in the last couple episodes, it drops its cheery attitude and starts playing out all the tension it has been slowly building up, the viewer is in for a ride no matter what anime genre they like. The credits are well done, the music is spot on for the most part, and the characters are all fascinating. I recommend giving this anime a try.

My Rating: 8.3/10 (Excellent)