Attack on Titan Review – A colossus among its peers

Attack on Titan

Director: Tetsuro Araki

Studio: Wit Studio with cooperation from Production I.G.

Episodes: 25 + OVA

Genre: Dark fantasy, dystopian, psychological drama

It’s not easy having the daunting responsibility of being the most popular anime of  the year. You have to certainly meet everybody’s expectations at some point in time. Even if you don’t, your reputation grows ever so strong because of word of mouth. Whether you’re hated or loved doesn’t matter, people will still talk about you. Isn’t that plenty? Well, it’s good enough for the studio producing and the television station giving you the air time to expand your audience even further. It’s a win-win for everybody. Such was the case of Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin in its native Japanese.

Death Note Review – A confused character study

Death Note

Director: Tetsuro Araki

Studio: Madhouse

Episodes: 37 + 2 TV Specials

Year: 2006

Genre: Psychological, supernatural thriller, suspense

This is a review I promised long ago… I believe dating back to episode 16 of our weekly podcast, when we briefly discussed this anime. I apologize for the long wait, but it just so happens that I truly never had the time to work on it because of several other things that got in-between of my fingers and a computer. I promise to deliver an honest critique to make up for all the lost time I wasted. At this point in time if you don’t know what Death Note is… then you really have been living under a rock. Sometime ago, the talk among anime fanatics was Death Note. It turned out to be such a phenomenon that it was almost as big as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Both titles were released in the same year as well, yet Death Note is the darker of the two.

Review: Zetman

Zetman

Director: Osamu Nabeshima

Studio: TMS Entertainment

Episodes: 13

Year: 2012

Genre: Action, Science Fiction

Honestly, I don’t know whose idea it was to adapt Zetman; a full-fledged manga series into a 13 episode anime. Actually, the problem is not that Zetman is only 13 episodes long, because there are several short series which tell their stories within that time frame. It also isn’t the fact that the animation for Zetman left my throat dry and my eyes watery. It isn’t even that the writing was filled with occasional plot holes from time to time. The sad truth is that Zetman had the colossal potential to become the next Batman, and instead it firmly sat back in its comfort zone of uninspired silliness.

Review: Planetes

Director: Goro Taniguchi

Studio: Sunrise

Episodes: 26

Year: 2003

Genre: Hard Science fiction, Drama

Planetes is an interesting anime. Its premise starts off simple and somewhat lighthearted, and then as the plot and the characters develop, things get increasingly dramatic. As you would expect, it is a drama, the story is literally about a team of people in the year 2075 who clean up space debris, but naturally there is a lot more to it than that. When I had started watching this series, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but any expectations that I may have had coming into it were completely blown out of the water by the end.

Review: Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Studio: Gainax

Episodes: 27

Year: 2007

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Mecha

For a show with such a straightforward nature to it, there sure is a lot to say about Gurren Lagann. When the series aired back in 2007, it instantly became hugely popular, especially on the internet. This had its good and bad sides as far as the fans are concerned, but that wasn’t the fault of the series at all.

This show is one which deserves to be enjoyed without any hype to accompany it beforehand or afterwards, so I will spare you the nonsense. However, a brief overview of the history which influences the series is in order.

Review: RahXephon

rahxephon-01

Director: Yutaka Izubuchi

Studio: Bones

Episodes: 26

Year: 2002

Genre: Drama, Mecha, Psychological, Romance, Surrealist

There is no such thing as originality nowadays. If there is an idea out there that is either being produced or contemplated, it is likely a version of it already exists. I remember reading in English class during my senior year of high school, a book called “How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster. I recall this text pointing out comically how there is no such thing as an “original” story, idea, or concept. Apparently, every original idea takes after an existing one, especially in writing. I assumed back then, and I’m sure now that Mr. Foster wasn’t limiting his statement to books and novels, but also included film and television as well. Going by Foster’s analysis, one can overlook the fact that RahXephon borrows from different titles for its own structure, yet it’s still original enough to stand alone.

Review: Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club

Director: Takuya Igarashi

Studio: Bones

Episodes: 26

Year: 2006

Genre: Comedy, Romance

It’s been years since I saw Ouran High School Host Club, and I recently found it again while I was browsing through my Netflix queue. Upon seeing it again it brought back plenty of memories about how much of a good time I had watching its crazy antics. It also brought back the lovely characters and their unique personalities. I too had forgotten the sublime art direction, the set designs of Ouran High School, the elegant character and costume designs, the majestic musical score, and the endless [visual] homage to anime as well as manga featuring strong independent ladies like the ones in Princess Knight, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and The Rose of Versailles. Though, I’m sure Bisco Hatori, the author of the source material was also heavily inspired by William Shakespeare’s 12th Night to drive the premise of the story.

Review: Ozuma

ozuma-01

Director: Ryosuke Takahashi and Takahiro Ikezoe

Studio: GONZO and LandQ Studios

Episodes: 6

Year: 2012

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

My initial reaction to a six-episode long anime series isn’t generally the most positive one. I imagine all the things that could go wrong first before I look at the positive aspects. With only six episodes to tell an entire [original] story, many things could be left out; characters can’t be fully explored nor resolved, plot twists can’t be fully resolved, and worst of all, the ending could be rushed straight to hell. Fortunately however, this isn’t entirely the case for Ozuma. This six-episode long anime manages to do what even the 12-and-24-episode long series barely manage to do nowadays. I’m referring to entertaining an audience, while providing a fun little moral story at its core.

Review: Ef~ A Tale of Memories

I mentioned on this week’s podcast that I probably won’t be able to do a consecutive review of the sequel for Ef~ A Tale of Memories since I have not yet seen it. However, I have watched this one, and I’ll at least do a review of it. I’ll critique the second series later, because I must note that while Ef~ A Tale of Memories may be what started it all, Ef~ A Tale of Melodies isn’t what finishes it. It is a prequel/sequel instead, and thus I haven’t decided whether to link the two reviews together.. Anyhow without further ado, here it is:

Ef~ A Tale of Memories

Ef - A Tale of Memories

Director: Shin Onuma

Studio: Shaft

Episodes: 12

Year: 2007

Genre: Drama, Psychological, Romance

Review: Angel Beats!

Angel Beats!

Director: Seiji Kishi

Studio: P.A. Works

Episodes: 13 + 1 OVA

Year: 2010

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

The reason why genres exist is to simplify the contents in a work of fiction. Genres are also meant to classify these works in order to characterize them by a particular style or form. I might have taken that from a dictionary/thesaurus to define “genre,” because at least this has a definition. Angel Beats! on the other hand, is an anime series that cannot be defined, since it doesn’t fall into one single genre. This can be both, a blessing and curse. I personally think this is what defines this series in general. The fact that it can’t be pinned down into one single term demonstrates how great of an idea Angel Beats! is, and just how much it works.

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