Archive for the ‘Series Reviews’ Category

Allison To Lillia – 23 – 26 (END)

October 12, 2008

Finally, I’ve completed this series and on the last day of my internship too! It’s been a really great journey, so heres to hoping you enjoy my review of the final arc.

Summary;

– It’s the second train arc! This time Travas/Wil is protecting the princess of Sou Beil, Matilda who’s aboard a train incognito with Treize.
– Lillia and Allison are on a train on the same track as well, but due to a plot by Criminal No.42 (a hired gun) Their trains intersect.
– Matilda and lillia meet for the first time, and they quickly become friends.
– The events that take place make Travas/Wil think that someone is after Matilda, so he disconnects the front part of the train leaving Allison, Treize and Lillia behind.
– In the midst of an attack later, Travas/Wil finds out that the culprit is actually after Treize
– Meanwhile, Lillia has been kidnapped by Criminal No.42 and Treize rushes to rescue her. Lillia finally finds out that Treize is the prince of Ikstova
– With the help of Allison and Wil, Treize manages to save Lillia but at the cost of, seemingly, his own life when the train derails into a canyon
– Sometime later, Treize transfers to Lillia’s school. Overwhelmed that he’s alive, she accepts his dance proposal.

My thoughts;

This whole train arc was classic Allison To Lillia style awesome, with the usual dose of conspiracies and whatnot. Things did seem a bit coincidental once in a while, but overall everything felt really memorable.

So, before I round up this series for the final time I’ll do my usual episode reviews.

So check out Allison To Lillia, its got trains

It’s good to see Treize and Lillia finally patching things up, although their end was no where near as satisfying as Allison and Wil’s. Up till this episode, it seemed that the directors were dragging Treize’s confession as far back as they could. That aside, Matilda was a pretty amusing character as well, seeing that she noticed Travas/Wil and Lillia’s relationship in a moment.The little scenes with Allison and Travas/Wil talking to each other also revealed alot about their current relationship. Rather than feeling sad or even regretful about their situation, Allison and Wil don’t really seem to mind at all, which brings up my talk about their marital support back in episode 13, good stuff!

Planes,

The high point of this arc as obviously episode 26, with all the train hopping and mid flight acrobatics. It was pretty interesting to see how Treize took down Criminal No.42, although not entirely logical. He shouldn’t even have went after criminal No.42 alone in the first place. I wonder if the directors are trying to portray him as some sort of superhero or something? The fact that he survived a plunge into a canyon and survived with a few broken ribs was really pushing it too far too.

Men with guns,

I thought also that Criminal No.42’s mission was kinda compromised in the logic department. The methods he used to get to Treize were anything but assured, since it involved many uncontrolable circumstances. For example, what if Travas decided to leave everyone behind? Or even in Travas decided to take Treize with him while escorting Matilda? Also, wasn’t his mission to kill Treize? Couldn’t he have done it without kidnapping Lillia? Even if he didn’t want to create a spectacle, he could have done it silently. I’m not even going to get started on the fact that he knew he was going to die in the end.

And  the oh so classic love stories.

Review;

So, biplanes, trains and adventures in a country perpetually covered in snow? What more could a 50’s feel fan ask for? Add to that the conspiracy plots, twisted back stories, totally adorable characters, classic romance and time lapses! and you’ve got yourself a series to last.

Though there were a few problems in the form of gigantic plotholes and compromised logic (not to mention physics), Allison To Lillia has been a series with heart. Oddities aside, it’s been a really fun series to follow and though the subs were stalled abit towards the middle, I’m glad I stuck to blogging it.

So, time to put this series to rest, until the next great one I pick up!

So how would I rate Allison To Lillia? You can find my rating system here

I would have no qualms in giving it a great, more for it’s characters than anything else. It also scores a 9 for it’s Character Attachment Factor, for its cast and its great character development. I feel rather sad letting this series go, but its time for the next season. So until then God Bless you Guys! =D

Amatsuki Series Review

August 11, 2008

Starting off and remaining rather obscure throughout the spring season, Amatsuki is one of those series that really did deserve more attention (seeing that only one guy blogged it). Eitherway, boasting  a well thought plot, and multi-faceted characters it definitely didn’t disappoint.

I’d say the main draw of amatsuki is it’s well scripted characters and the really down-to-earth feel its got. Despite being a show with time travelling teens, ayakashi, and edo age japan, Amatsuki really does make one feel at home with the setting. The best word to describe it would be; homely, filling its viewers with that warm feeling inside. With it’s plot constantly on the move, it’s uncanny ability to shift from light hearted moments to being dead serious, and for having a climax where everything is resolved by talking, Amatsuki is a definite must watch for this year.

Rikugou Tokidoki; the blank page

Amatsuki definitely excels plotwise, with it’s carefully rendered plot. Everything makes sense and has proper building up, everything that doesn’t is foreshadowed as well. At the start, of the plot seems to focus on Toki’s development, and much of the story is focused around him being the blank page. Towards the end though, what we get is a complete shift of the so called ‘bad guy’s’ motives, and then we find out that the whole season was basically a buildup for the next. As I mentioned earlier, the direction of Amatsuki is just awesome. It’s definitely not easy to transition from plot heavy moments to light character development, but Amatsuki does it nearly seamlessly, with no part feeling out of place. Watch it and you’ll understand.

The trio; Toki, Kuchiha & Shinonome

Characterwise pretty much all the characters are well developed, and seeing Amatsuki has a large cast to deal with, thats something worth complimenting. My personal favourite is Toki, with his empathetic and humanitarian values, followed by Kuchiha, who in my opinion is just so cute. Shinonome is really interesting as well, since his actions somewhat parallel with  Toki’s. The good thing is that none of the characters feel minor; each has a really great part to play, be it Heihachi or even Tsuyukusa. The antagonist, Bonten while looking very much like your cliched anime prettyboy villain actually has a very likeable personality and plausible motives to boot. I could go on and on about the characters but as always, watching it yourself would be a better idea.

The three under Teiten; Bonten, Princess Kaguya & Yakou

The art and music are nothing special. However, they play an important part in defining the feel of the era. The art, though not exacly macross or seirei no moribito level, somehow managed to give a very relaxed feel to the background. The music also manages to keep everything very lively, especially that track they play when Toki and Kuchiha are at it, i just can’t get its carnival-like sound out of my head! xD

Tsuyukusa & Heihachi; a surprising friendship.

Most importantly, Amatsuki is a show with morals. I personally like it’s presentation of ‘humanity‘ as a theme. In a world with more than one intelligent species, what defines humanity? Can you justify taking actions to protect humans at the expense of ayakashi? Despising Ayakashi as monsters might seem right, but doesn’t that make humans monsters as well? Amatsuki addresses each of these questions really well, and suceeds in emulating some very fundamental problems in it’s society, and not surprisingly ours as well.

A carving of amendment

Anyway, enough chit-chat. How would I rate Amatsuki?

You can read more about my rating system here.

So, Amatsuki rates Great for it’s compelling story, and lovable characters. It also manages to get a 9 for it’s Character Attachment Factor. Oh, I’m also pretty sure that that there’s going to be a second season, and when it does come I’ll be sure to blog it. Anyway, until then, God bless! =D

Kaiba Series Review

August 10, 2008

For those of you who don’t yet know about Kaiba, I suggest you read my first impressions post on it, or probably watching it may be a good idea too.

The main character of the story; Kaiba

Engrossing, touching and definitely very disturbing, in words just plain awesome. It’s really been a long time since I’ve watched an anime of Kaiba’s caliber; an anime with a grand plot, engrossing mystery, a really vast setting and with a romance to beat many, many others.

Succeeding in evoking moral contradictions and disgust in me where many other anime have failed, at times the shock and absurdness of it’s worlds depraved state made me hit the pause button to think before continuing it. However, it’s not an anime without hope, and definitely not without love. Definitely a candidate for best anime of the year.

Warp and Kaiba; villain and king

Looking back at when I first picked it up, a long 3 months ago, I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t expecting too much from it. “Just another experimental anime”, or so I thought. However, as the series progressed and transitioned from the first few confusing episodes, I was hooked. The setting of the world of Kaiba was just immense with so many worlds to visit and points of view to consider. From the mass producing body factories of abipa to that underwater ghost town, just awesome. Another thing about Kaiba is it’s obvious delight in making weird objects, of which most we’re really very ingenious and fun to watch, that helped add to it’s alien feel.

Kaiba, Chroniko and Vanilla

The characters of this anime also played a great part in making it a favourite of mine. Don’t be fooled, it’s definitely not their conversations that define who they are, seeing that the main character, Kaiba doesn’t say more than 5 lines per episode from episode 1 – 5. Instead as the old proverb goes, their actions speak louder than their words. Kaiba’s gentleness and persistence in looking for Neiro, Neiro’s confusion, Popo’s ruthlessness, the ever cute, ever helpful hyo-hyo and a host of other characters all played  very very important roles in defining the feel of the series.

The art direction of Kaiba is wonderfully simplistic but yet sureally chaotic as well. It’s definitely hard to explain, but thats why I put pictures in my reviews. My only advice is this; don’t let the character designs turn you off, cause If you do you’re making a very bad decision. Instead of detracting from the story, I’d say the art complements it extremely well, so much so that I can’t think of any other design or style that would work so well with the setting. The background music, with its electrofunk and synthesized tune generally manages to build upon that fearful alien atmosphere Kaiba exudes.

Neiro and Popo; confused lover & lonely schemer

So all in all how would I rate Kaiba? Well, as per my usual rating system of;

Awesome – Best of the best, saved for my favourites
Great – Way above the normal, worth keeping
Good – A few problems here and there but still nice
Average – Baseline level anime, watch if you have the time
Mediocre – Mediocre
Bad – I doubt there would be any of these on my blog since i’d probably have dropped them.

Kaiba scores unsurprisingly, an awesome for its great take on the science fiction genre. As for it’s character attachment factor, I’d give it a 7 since the characters develop the story and not the other way round.

So I hope I managed to do this great series justice with my review. Do give it a try if you haven’t watched it yet. God bless! =)

Vampire Knights – 13 (END)

July 20, 2008

Wow, what an awesome season finale!

Summary;

We’re shown Shizuka’s past. The reason she killed the Kiryuu family was because they killed her lover. As he stands over Shizuka, Ichiru confesses that he’s always loved her while Shizuka tells him that she doesn’t drink his blood because she wants him as a friend not a servant before fading away.

Failing to drink Shizuka’s blood, Zero turns into a level E and is isolated by Touga and Kaien. Aidou hints to Kain that he knows more about Kaname that he’s letting on. While talking with Kaname, Yuuki realizes that everyone has their own pains be it Ichiru, Zero or even Shizuka herself. In his room, Kaname still has trouble controlling the new powers he’s gotten from Shizuka.

In isolation, Zero’s condition is getting worse though he still maintains his conciousness. Kaien and Touga, who’re watching over him have no idea what to do but they’re distracted by a crashing sound and run to check it out. Kaname manages to sneak in and gives Zero his blood to prevent him from turning into a level E, saying that it’s only for Yuuki’s sake.

My thoughts;

Like I said earlier, I thought this episode did a good job of wrapping things up while setting the stage for the second season.

Anyway, I remember stating in my previous reviews that I thought Ichiru was an interesting guy. Watching this episode, I can understand why I find his character interesting; he’s no one special but yet he  follows Shizuka around because of his loneliness. It’s good to see that they’re going to keep him around for the next season.

They actually make a cute couple.

Also, Kaname’s intentions are finally let out of the bag this episode. It seems the chess piece he’s always fiddling with represents Shizuka. Seeing that their goals are the same; the destruction of the person who ‘ruined the destiny of pure bloods‘, I finally understand why he let her into the school. They we’re aiming for each others blood to enhance their own pure blood powers. Anyway, Kaname won, which i think will make for an interesting second season.

So, at the end we have Shizuka’s sad past,

It’s also in this episode that Zero finally succumbs to his inner vampire. True to his character though, even after turning into a Level E he’s still able to retain his consciousness. I was wondering how the directors were going to handle his condition since Shizuka died but it seems that Kaname, having obtained the power of Shizuka’s blood could save him too.  So I guess Zero’s problems are solved; he no longer has to worry about becoming a Level E, which makes me wonder what his role in the next season will be?

Kaname getting some funky new powers,

I’ve always thought of Yuuki as a damsel-in-distress like character but it seems that her role in this series will be bigger than that. Two other characters that i think we’re fleshed out very nicely were Aidou and Kain. In episode 12, we know that Aidou saw Kaname kill Shizuka which made me wonder how he’d react when Kaname brought it up. Instead of fearing Kaname he seems to have understood that Kaname had his own mission to complete too. That said, I forsee these two having a bigger role to play next season too.

and Zero finally cured of his Level E problem!

All in all what did I think of Vampire Knights? Well seeing that I enjoyed the development of its plot quite alot and that while airing it became my weekly staple, I’d say it was an interesting view. Also, it’s the first series I’ve completed covering episodically here on Anime Under The sun, and I really did enjoy blogging each release.

So, how would I rank Vampire Knights? As I mentioned in my Kurenai series review, I go by this rating system;

Awesome – Best of the best, saved for my favourites
Great – Way above the normal, worth keeping
Good – A few problems here and there but still nice
Average – Baseline level anime, watch if you have the time
Mediocre – Mediocre
Bad – I doubt there would be any of these on my blog since i’d probably have dropped them. xD

Coupling its interesting plot, melancholic atmosphere, and multi dimensional characters with great skill, Vampire Knights ranks Good in my books. It could definitely have been better; the animation definitely needs some work, and at times the plot is too draggy but regardless, I still enjoyed it a lot. Oh, if you were wondering, yes, I’ll definitely be blogging the second season.

Oh I’m also going to be rating it’s character attachment factor. Bluntly put, it’s a rating how attached I got to it’s characters over the course of the entire series. After all, character attachment is important in an anime. So, Vampire Knights scores justifiably, an 8.

So, thats all guys, I hope you all enjoyed this series as much as I did. See you next season!

Kurenai Series Review

June 29, 2008

As usual, my posts are more than a little late, but then again a great series is supposed to be timeless right? =)

Kurenai Review

Well, I’ve got to say that watching Kurenai was a real treat. In my opinion it was probably the most solid show of 2008s spring season and I’ll probably miss looking forward to it each week. So this being a series review and all I’m going to touch up a bit more on what made this series so special.

Kurenai Review 1

Watch Kurenai! It’s got slice-of-life elements,

Animation-wise, its great. The animation is fluid, the background scenery is vivid and detailed, and its character design exudes uniqueness. Also, one plus factor is the fact that the animation stays constant throught the series, meaning that it was a treat to the eyes throughout each episode.

Kurenai Review 2

people punching and kicking each other silly,

Kurenai has a great plot too. Looking back at the previews, I thought this show was going to be another one of those shounen themed anime, with a teenager fighting tons of bad guys to get stronger and whatsnot; standard shounen fare. However after finishing, it I realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. Kurenai marvelled me with it’s slice-of-life pacing and stunning development. Ranging from slow spa trips to action filled thrillers, with great development throughout each episode.

Kurenai Review 3

people who can’t drive,

Kurenai also has a great soundtrack. I loved the upbeat jazz and blues for all the fighting scenes, however, it was the ballads that truly brought out the peacefullness of Kurenai. The music just accompanied and changed with each scene. The J-pop opening and ending themes we’re also a cool addition to the already diverse soundtrack.

Kurenai Review 4

and a main character with a giant retractable blade attached to his elbow. =D

So, all in all how would I rate Kurenai? Well since this is my first full series review I guess I’ll have to explain my rating system a bit. I’ll be sticking with a subjective review as well as a gauge of it’s genre. That said my rating system will be something like this;

Awesome – Best of the best, saved for my favourites
Great – Way above the normal, worth keeping
Good – A few problems here and there but still nice
Average – Baseline level anime, watch if you have the time
Mediocre – Mediocre
Bad – I doubt there would be any of these on my blog since i’d probably have dropped them. xD

That said, I’d say Kurenai gets a Great and would fit somewhere in the slice-of-life category although it has elements of mystery and drama too. So if you haven’t yet watched Kurenai and if you love random musicals, please do! So until the next great series pops up, see you all! =D