Posts Tagged ‘Anime Reviews’

Synopsis
After winning the medly relay in elementary school Haruka and his two team mates don’t see their friend Rin for many years as he moved to Australia to a swimming school. After time passed the three boys find Rin who immediately challenges Haruka to a race.

Story
Free! is an interesting story when it comes to sports anime, generally sports anime put a lot of focus on the sport that is featured. Free! is different in this case, since the sport focused in Free! is swimming it is easier for characters to be developed more as they don’t have to go through the process of explaining the rules or anything of that since most people grow up learning how to swim and knowing what events swimming has. What I found to be a bit disappointing is that the main character Haruka cares not for the sport but just for the act of swimming. So if he loses a race he is as emotionless as ever, this really stops the story from being able to become more than just good. The story more or less focuses on the bonds between characters and how they grow throughout the anime. At first the anime was fairly suspenseful, the idea of winning and losing having an importance was something that was suggested but was not delivered. One of the things that sports anime has going for it is the psychological side effects of winning and losing, sure everyone loves to see a victory but the most interesting part is generally the mentality of someone who has just lost in an important moment. Free! doesn’t have this, the only character who has this mentality is Rin and he is technically the antagonist of the series so the whole effect is more or less lost on him. Free! also focuses on the idea of being free, the idea of anything being possible when doing something you love, looking for the beauty in life. Through past events Rin is no longer free but instead trapped in an infinite cycle until he beats Haruka. For him Haruka is the obstacle that stops him from obtaining freedom in swimming. The pacing of the anime is rather odd, one moment they are fixing the school pool so it’s ready to be swam in and then there will be a time skip to a summer break where they train for the qualifiers, this in itself isn’t really the problem but the actual pace that the story goes at. It gives a feeling of being rather fast and you forget on what really is going on and what is really important, the actual competition or the journey. Overall I give the Story a 7/10.

Characters
For an anime that focuses on the building of relations between characters and the development of characters I have to say that there is definitely a lack of focus on crucial characters in these areas. Haruka who is the protagonist of the show has no emotion, normally this isn’t something that bothers me, in fact characters like Inaho from Aldnoah.Zero I really enjoy as they do have something to compensate for it like the ability to analyze the situation and adapt. Haruka on the other hand has nothing going for him, he appears rather air headed and is more or less a comedic relief character. Whenever he does show emotion which is only twice from my recollection it feels rather shallow, I can’t help but feel like he only really cares about a situation until another character says “it’s all right.” Rin who is the antagonist of the anime feels like he is the best example of what the standard for the characters was supposed to be, he has a back story that is relevant to his current disposition and shows all the psychological traits that you would expect the protagonist to have but instead Rin has it. At times it seems like Rin is who the story should be centered around as he would be a much more interesting character to follow than Haruka and his friends. RIn displays a vast range of emotions and can go from 0-60 in a matter of seconds when it comes to the result of a race which makes him an ideal character for a sports anime. Yet there isn’t exactly a lot of screen time for Rin to show what more he can do, his potential was cut short in my opinion. Nagisa is a decent character but lacks the importance to feel like he belongs as a main characters, with no back story provided for him all the viewer knows of him is what they see and at the start of the anime and he really isn’t that impressive, once again being a character that doesn’t care for the result of the race but wants to swim as a team as it is more enjoyable. Overall I give the Characters a 4/10.

Art and Animation
The artwork in Free! is pretty good, it is definitely one of the stronger points in the anime the character designs aren’t your average designs which gives Free! more of a fresh feel to it. The scenery is well detailed and complimented the characters and the animation nicely. At times it feels like the scenery is very much forgotten in the experience as the anime tends to focus on the characters but early episodes placed a good importance on the scenery which was nice to see. The animation was also another strong point of the anime, if there is one thing about the animation that impressed me it was the motion of the water. There is something about water that I enjoy in anime and Free! lives up to that expectation. The motion of the water moving wasn’t the only thing that I was impressed by, there was a fair share of first person scenes that looked stunning when seeing them, they also looked accurate based on the fact that I know what it is like to swim freestyle. The anime also focuses on the beauty that can be portrayed through sports which isn’t something you see a lot and I appreciated that in Free! Overall I give the art and animation an 8/10.

Sound and Music
The sound effects were surprisingly good, the splashing of water actually sounded like splashing water which is also a positive for sound effects. The voice acting was a bit questionable, in particular the voice actor for Haruka. Shimazaki, Nobunaga did an alright job but knowing that he also voices Furuya from Diamond no Ace made me disapointed with Haruka, he definitely gives off the right moods and emotions but something was missing with Haruka. It didn’t help that Haruka’s personality did change after the first few episodes. Other than that the voice acting for the rest of the characters was pretty good. The sound track was nice to listen to and there where a few tracks that actually impressed me, such as the track used at the end of the first episode. The reason I was impressed was the fact that there was dub step used, I thought this was mind blowing considering that most sound tracks are fairly standard when it comes to the selection of instruments. The sound track was able to highlight the tone of each scene quite well and didn’t cause any problems in terms of clashes. Overall I give the Sound and Music a 6/10.

Final Thoughts
Free! is a bit of a let down to what I was hoping for, it’s a good anime for someone who is new to anime or just wants to look at pretty pictures. The characters are fairly flawed and don’t really have a lot of depth to them. I wouldn’t say that you should stray away from Free! I would just say that it shouldn’t be high on your list of anime to watch. Overall I give Free! a total of 6.25

Synopsis
Aoi is a girl who prefers hobbies and activities that can be done indoors, after an accident she had when she was younger she has become afraid of heights. Her childhood friend loves to climb mountains, as she drags Aoi to do mountain climbing Aoi is scared of what kind of mountains she will be climbing.

Story
Encouragment of Climb is a short series of episodes that are around 3 minutes long, the story tells the viewer of the friendship between Aoi and Hinata, two childhood friends that have very different tastes in hobbies. The story in itself is very simple but in this case the story never needed to be complicated, the pacing of the story was very slow, there would be multiple episodes for one mountain climb where nothing in terms of complications would occur. The main idea of the story isn’t that Aoi is scared of heights or that she is climbing mountains, it’s that she is getting more friends since she started climbing mountains. The story is rather predictable but being a series of shorts and that is to be expected since unlike other shorts this series follows a series of events that link episodes together which is a nice change and something that longer anime series could do better. With Encouragement of Climb being a short series there isn’t any conflict or turn of events that faced the story which made it some what boring to watch. Overall I give the story a total of 6/10.

Characters
The characters in Encouragement of Climb were fairly average, they didn’t really develop besides Aoi who become less of an introvert throughout the series. The characters weren’t a main focus of the anime but that didn’t really matter too much, the characters were already explained at their introductions and the amount of time that actually passes in the anime is too short for any real character development to actually take place. Aoba Kokona is a middle school girl who has an interest in wild life but she shows most of her passion in cooking. She is rather quiet and shy but can also be an airhead as well. Kuraue Hinata is the outgoing childhood friend of Aoi, she loves to climb mountains and is rather blunt when it come to criticizing people especially Aoi. Saitou Kaede doesn’t get too much screen time but it’s obvious that she is a passionate mountain climber. Yukimura Aoi is an introvert who much prefers indoor hobbies such as arts and crafts along with cooking. She then has a re-kindled love for mountain climbing coming back to her even though she is still afraid of heights and will only climb smaller mountains. Overall I give the characters a 5/10.

Art and Animation
The art and animation was the pinnacle of these series of shorts, it’s a way to show off what the company can do so then they can get work for bigger titled anime. This is something I appreciate in a lot of shorts as it just looks brilliant when I watch them and Encouragement of Climb is no different in any way. The art was quite detailed since a lot of the anime is based in mountains and outside it’s only natural to have detailed forests and bush. The scenery was very nice and emphasis on detail made the scenery even more eye catching. The animation was also brilliant to watch, to start the anime off they show a scene where two girls are walking over to Aoi in first person and it was done quite well, there were times where I thought that the quality of the animation was low. Overall I give the art and animation an 8/10.

Sound and Music
The music in Encouragement of Climb wasn’t memorable, I guess with less focus on the music area that is to be expected. When going back to the anime I can’t recall any tracks that I heard, the 3 minutes that the episodes are it’s really hard to notice the music since you aren’t concentrating on that aspect of the anime. The voice acting was accurate though, each voice represented their corresponding character rather well making it a more enjoyable experience to watch. The voice acting wasn’t outstanding but since there wasn’t any conflict there wasn’t any need for a large range of expressions. This leaves the music and sound rather bleak. Overall I give the sound and music a total of 5/10.

Final Thoughts
Would I say that Encouragement of Climb is a must see? No, it isn’t in that realm of anime yet it isn’t in the realm of never touch the anime for your life span. If I was to recommend it, it would be to watch it before you go to bed or when you have a 30 minute gap in your day. The anime is rather anti-climatic so it’s perfect for a bedtime piece and only lasts for 36 minutes total so it can be watched in a short period of time. Overall I give Encouragement of Climb a total of 6/10.

Synopsis
With a passionate love of Tarot cards Akari tries to learn everything that she can about tarot cards and learning how to be a great reader. One day through the occurrence of strange events Akari learns that she has special powers that relate back to tarot cards.

Story
Day Break Illusion is an interesting anime, the idea of tarot cards already interested me but to have a completely different world that is invisible to the human world. The story doesn’t introduce anything that makes the story exciting at all, the story is fairly consistent with its telling of the story but it was rather average, no plot twists or exciting turns of events that grabs the viewer into the story. The story was easy to follow and didn’t try to hide any information from the viewer, the anime is fairly predictable but you don’t really focus on whats going to happen next as most episodes end on a note where it finishes off that small story. Day Break Illusion doesn’t focus on story arcs but instead has episodic episodes that fill in the overall story. The story does explain all of the necessary details that the viewer wants and needs to know, in terms of satisfaction in the plot, Day Break Illusion really doesn’t make the viewer satisfied for watching it, if anything it will make the viewer unhappy as it is doesn’t leave you with a definate feeling of either liking or hating the anime, it just sort of sits there in the realm of not really leaving an impact with you. The ending was pretty anti-climatic and didn’t live up to the expectations of an anime that had a battle ┬átheme around it. Overall I give the story a 5/10.

Characters
The characters in Day Break Illusion like the story don’t really live up to the expectation that is set before them, the viewer expects deep and meaningful relations and back stories yet it was really disappointing when we learn the motives of a character, no real effort was put into it, when it came to learning the story behind Hoshikawa Seira it was just a story, it was the sad turning point in her life that it should have been, it felt more like “oh, so that happened.” The back story behind Tsukuyomi Luna had been teased throughout the entire anime yet they never really discussed it, sure it was obvious that she came from a wealthy family and the fight for the will was prevalent but it was never explained what her family did or why they are from money. Hoshikawa Seira is the calm minded and cold hearted girl in the team, she often carries out her tasks with an unwavering will. Shirokane Ginka is the indecisive member of the team, often not knowing where she stands on a point she quickly changes her view based on what some one will say. Taiyou Akari is the cheery Tarot card loving girl who is often described as being as bright as the sun. Tsukuyomi Luna is the shy and quite member who sees her lost twin sister in Akari making her naturally try and be near Akari. Overall I give the Characters a 6/10

Art and Animation
The art is actually nice in Day Break Illusion, the scenery was well detailed and that was a nice change to see compared to other anime which really don’t focus on the scenery. I do admit that there are some scenes that throw the idea of scenery out the door like when they are in the Astralux there isn’t any detail put into scenery but it’s the astralux, it’s meant to be a world that doesn’t have a lot of features in it. The animation in the beginning of Day Break Illusion was actually pretty good but as time went on the animation become worse and worse, the disapointing thing was at the start they had a heavy emphasis on movement and first person movement but as the anime went on the animation quality dropped a lot. The panning shots were always choppy yet that could have been my browser not working properly as it seemed a bit strange. Overall I give the Art and Animation a 7/10.

Sound and Music
The sound track for Day Break Illusion was pretty decent, it fit the tones very nicely, it did remind me a bit of amnesia the way they had the same track to end of the episode but that didn’t bother me as the track was good and didn’t matter how much it was repeated, there were other tracks that were used repeatably for the one purpose but once again I didn’t mind this as it made the anime feel like there was more consistency to it. The voice acting on the other hand was a bit questionable, the emotions never really came across as the voices didn’t fit some of the characters, Akari was too soft to be the cheery and sunny character that she was, the voice made her sound as if she should be Luna since it was a voice that sounded intimidated a lot of the time. Overall I give the Sound and Music a 6/10.

Final Thoughts
Day Break Illusion for once isn’t an anime that I recommend you watch, the anime leaves you feeling that you wasted you time as you don’t have a firm opinion on the anime, it kinda just sits there in limbo and that is what makes it frustrating. Overall I give Day Break Illusion a total of 6/10.

Normally this time this week I have something that I want to talk about or rant about but nothing is really hitting me this week. I am attending an anime convention in 11 days and I am super pumped for that, I plan on the first day just to go and splurge all my money on manga, what I have in mind is the entire Bakuman collection and issues 4-7 of Deadman Wonderland. Other than that if I find any cool figures I will buy those. My plan for the second day is to spend it in the video games area and compete in the Tekken Tag 2 Tournament. I won it last year so lets hope that this year is also prosperous.

In terms of the anime I have watched in the last week I was originally intending to watch D.Gray-man as I purchased it back in December but just haven’t gotten around to watching it but since Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou took so long to read, not that it was a bad thing. It was going to be to hard to watch all of D.Gray-man so that is why I decided Day Break Illusion. I don’t know how to feel on Day Break Illusion, normally I have a certain idea when I’m halfway through an anime but not with this.

For manga I was thinking of attempting to read Coppelion yet it’s rather long so I might not get through it all by Friday. I could also do the Light Novels for Campione because I am rather interested to see how that compares to the anime adaption.

Click here for our reviews on Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou and Campione!

Synopsis
While in Italy to return an old stone tablet for his grandfather, Kusanagi Godou finds himself being held a knife point for the tablet being accused to stealing it. As this is happening trouble occurs and Godou finds himself in the middle of a battle with Gods.

Story
Campione! had a lot of potential yet it didn’t act upon that yet it doesn’t really mean it’s a bad thing. The concept of the story was interesting, modern day God slayers and heroes with ancient Gods from all beliefs such as Roman and Greek Gods. One of the many downsides was that the anime would skip a lot of crucial information and events that happen in the novels. One of these is when they reference to the fight that Godou has with Doni Salvatore, you start to question if you have missed and episode or two as at the time it’s made out to be a big event. The reason why this doesn’t bother me is because there are 17 novels along with 12 side novels so have the anime skip some information to show some of the big battles doesn’t really make a big difference. Due to this Campione! is really fast paced but you don’t lose yourself in the story as you can still grasp what is happening. The story had a feeling that it wasn’t really connect nicely, since the battles are taken from different places in the story they did an OK job to piece it together as smooth as possible but the fact that you only meet some of the camiones that are spoken about. One of the positives are that the anime conveys feeling perfectly, when you are in the moment most romance scenes are very sweet and you can really feel the love that is intended to reach the audience. In saying this there are a few moments that don’t convey emotion no where near a well as it normally is. Overall I give the story a 5/10.

Characters
The characters are easily the best part of Campione! in a sense, you could say that the characters are somewhat shallow with no story behind them, you have to take them for face value but I don’t think that’s a problem. Part of the charm of the characters is that you don’t know of their past, the characters feel authentic in there feelings and in their actions. The one character who doesn’t really fit this mold would have to be Mariya Yuri, a lot of the times when she is involved she doesn’t really convey the feelings to the viewer that is intended to be conveyed. The character development is a weird thing in the anime, most of the development with characters happen with the first encounter so they don’t really change all too much through out the anime. Kusanagi, Godou is the regular protagonist, he claims to be a pacifist until he actually as to fight, seeing his friends as people he has to protect and holds dear to him, he is willing to fight for their safety. Blandelli Erica is also known as the red devil from the Copper Black Cross, she is in love with Godou and says that she has to be number one in his life. Being a strong fighter she is often at Godou’s side for battles. Kranjcar Liliana is Godou’s knight, she is a very serious person who treats her role very important, being a member of the Bronze Black Cross and is Erica’s rival. She also has a passion for writing romance novels. Mariya Yuri is the pure Princess Shrine Maiden who also happens to be in love Godou, she tends to be very shy but she will critisize Godou if he makes a foolish decision, she claims that she is there to make sure that Godou is kept in line. Overall I give the characters a 9/10.

Art and Animation
The art in Campione! is above average, the characters are nothing special but the scenery has a bit of detail in it, the animation was also average. The motion was smooth but there wasn’t any movement during scenes where characters are talking, they will just be sitting or standing there talking and none of them will move or there weren’t being anything happening in the background. The 3D animation was surprisingly good, it wasn’t amazing or anything but it didn’t take all the focus away from the the traditional animation, given that a lot of anime tend to do 3D animation poorly I was impressed. The fight scenes were really anticlimactic, the fights never looked impressive and Godou never really had a surprising win. The fights basically followed the same formula each time. At first he gets slapped around and outclassed, then he will kiss a girl and have them use their teaching magic to teach him about the God and/or God power they have and then defeat them. The fights were never exciting because of this. Overall I give the art and animation a 5/10

Music and Sound
The music in Campione! was really forgettable, there wasn’t that one song that you would remember that, along with that note the music wasn’t emphasized so it made it harder to spot music and it was just blended in, which is fine but even the fight scenes there was no distinct song you could hear play. The sound track itself is enjoyable to listen to even though some of the songs sound like other songs. The mix is what suprised me, there were the medieval style songs which is to be expected of Campione! but there were also songs that sounded like they belonged in Lord of the Rings. The voice acting was average, nothing really stood out to make me think that any particular character had a good voice acting. The actors did their job and provided realistic tones and expressions in their voices. Overall I give the music and sound a 5/10

Final Thoughts
Campione! may seem like an anime that really isn’t worth your time and you would be right. If it weren’t for how fun it was to watch Campione! I might have said differently. Despite all the flaws in the anime it was still fun to watch. I give Campione! a total of 6/10 and a recommendation of it if you don’t really care for flashy fight scenes or a plot that makes total sense but just want to simply enjoy watching an anime.

Synopsis
In the war that has placed Arandas in a disadvantageous position, as part of Individual unit 8, rookie pilot Susumu Tokimune races onto a battlefield to save a civilian. In the process his mech is destroyed and unusable. In the cargo that the civilian truck is carrying is a brand new mech model that Susumu is forced to pilot in order to change the situation he finds himself in.

Story
Argevollen’s story is rather unsatisfying, we are placed into a situation with little to no information about it. All you know is that there is a war between two nations and that one side is losing. Sure you learn things along the way but there are questions that are unanswered though out the 24 episodes. Why is there a war happening? How did it start? I understand that this isn’t the focus of the anime but it would have been nice to understand why they are in war. Why is Takimune in Individual unit 8? According to the anime it’s a specialist unit that helps out along the front lines. So then why would a rookie be placed into a specialist unit? Questions aside where the story is focused is kind of sketchy in itself. Jamie’s job is to be the engineer of Argevollen and yet she doesn’t really tell Tokimune a lot about the mech in itself. One thing Argevollen tends to do is give you a lot of information in one sitting about the connections of certain characters, sure this isn’t much of a problem in itself but then the anime will let you watch a few battles before telling you more information. The pacing is rather slow and by the end I found myself saying that it was unsatisfying as the story doesn’t really achieve what you want it to achieve in any sense and screams out that the is an intended sequel. Argevollen tends to do things sporadically as skip time forward by two months so then the viewer has absolutely no idea what has happened. There are a few filler episodes early on in Argevollen but they aren’t really a big issue as they follow the idea that Arandas is falling behind in the war. Overall I give the Story a 5/10.

Characters
The characters in Argevollen are aggravating to the point where the three mechanic girls have the best personalities in the entire anime. The character designs were terrible every character looked like every other character in the anime and I actually ended up confusing two completely different characters because they looked exactly the same. There isn’t really any character development in the anime so the characters never really became more mature or anything like that. Argevollen pointed at a romance between Tokimune and Jamie through out the entire anime and never actually built upon it, sure I expect some awkward scenes with them but they never showed any signs that there relationship was going to go any further as friends which really frustrated me. Susumu Tokimune is the rookie mech pilot who becomes the pilot of Argevollen and becomes an essential part of Individual unit 8. His personality follows the hero who is wants to save civilians and his friends from harms way. Jami Hazaford is the engineer of Argevollen who is essential to booting it up and running system checks, she tends to be anxious and uptight through out the anime. Samonji Ukyou is the captain of Individual unit 8, he tends to be a very emotionless character with deep and lingering problemds from the past. Suzushiro Saori is kind and friendly second in command to Captain Samonji, she also appears to have a deeper relationship with the captain. Overall I give the Characters a 4/10.

Art and animation
The art and animation has to be the strongest point in Argevollen. The art is actually really good as the backgrounds always had a lot of detail in them. As I was watching I said “Damn those rocks look good.” With the added detail to the scenery it made me happy knowing that all hope wasn’t lost on this anime. The only complaint with the art would be the choice of what was glowing, I understand open doors would have a glow to them but trees, this really made me thing maybe the art isn’t perfect after all. Aside from that the animation was both great and bad at the same time. The mechs were really good, they just looked nice on screen which really amazed me since CG type animation normally never impresses me but the mechs did impress me. The motion most of the time was fluid yet I recall a time where a pan shot was done and that was pretty choppy. During scenes with dialogue there was no movement happening in the background or with the characters which was disappointing as it could have made for some more interesting pieces within the anime. The fights were really great to watch, as previously stated the motion was very fluid so the fights benifited from it. There were some scenes where you would see the Argevollen become faster and they put emphasis on bullets that were fired at it to really prove the point. Overall I give the art and animation a total of 7/10.

Music and Sound
The music in Argevollen is what i like to see in an anime, suspenseful, dramatic, blood pumping and sad.The sound track fits the anime quite well and compliments the different scenes very nicely, the sound track consisted of a lot of orchestral music with strings and brass which is a really nice fit to the anime. The sound effects were quite realistic and seemed authentic to the actual motion, combat and movement. The voice acting can go either way, you could say its good or bad but in this case I would say its rather average. Nothing really grabbed my attention that made me think “damn that’s some good voice acting.” Yet I feel that compared to the rest of the anime it fits nicely as Argevollen isn’t exactly an anime of brilliant caliber by no means. Overall I give the music and sound a 6/10.

Final Thoughts
Argevollen did not meet my expectations from the Preview trailer of it yet saying that it really isn’t a bad thing it didn’t. In terms of anime or anything with a trailer if the anime in this case meets all your expectations from what you have gathered from the trailer then the anime really isn’t going to surprise you in any manner. All that aside, overall I give Argevollen a total of 5.5 and recommend it if you enjoy mech anime or good fight scenes.