Anime Review: Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing Episode 2

Anime Review:
Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing is a 23-episode anime television series airing between October 2011 and March 2012, a sequel to the popular Last Exile anime series from 2003. Fam, the Silver Wing is a new story set in the same setting as the original series, following the adventures of Fam and Giselle, two vanship pirates and members of the Sky Pirates who rescue to princesses after war unexpectedly breaks out between warring kingdoms.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: Princess Liliana allies with the Sky Pirates to battle the encroaching Turan army, while her younger sister Millia heads back to the capital with Fam and Giselle. Liliana’s surprise attack fails, and she is taken aboard the Ades flagship. Millia tries to rescue her sister with the skilled help of Fam and Giselle, but upon reaching the bridge of the ship, the Ades captain Luscinia explains his true motives for his attack. Luscinia utters one of the Mysteria, bringing down one of the Exile ‘moons’ in orbit around Earth, utterly destroying the Turan kingdom.

My Impressions: In a relatively weak Fall anime season, I’m leaning towards Last Exile as potentially the most interesting series of the season..

They throw a whole lot into just two episodes — far too much to easily digest in just one sitting, and some parts that just leave me wondering “what the fuck just happened there?” — such as when Liliana is possessed with light, and one of the orbiting moons responds by raining death from above. One thing is for sure: this series cannot be accused of not Thinking Big.

There are certain times when it is clear that the production staff are trying to show off, such as when the sky is filled with hundreds of floating ships in the sky, and the battle is in full swing. But the element of ‘visual spectacle’ means nothing if there isn’t a story to back it up in the end (see my condemnation of Guilty Crown, for example). Luckily, it seems that Last Exile may actually have that complicated, interesting story to match up with the artwork and animation.

The first Last Exile series a decade ago had an extremely rich and textured setting, and it seems that the second series may be equally as detailed. So far we have only touched a small tip of this fantastical world, and I’m left wondering how much more will be revealed in the episodes ahead.

The only true wildcard at this point is the main characters themselves. Well, notably Fam, but also her co-conspirator Giselle and the rest of the cast. At this point the story itself is overshadowing any sort of serious character development, so I don’t really have a feel for Fam as a character, or anyone else for that matter. All except for Dio — but that is because he’s the lone (so far) holdover from the last series, and thankfully in this second episode he comes across as a calm and measured ally rather than the prickish, puckish ass from before.

The verdict:

Before Fam the Silver Wing debuted, there was a great deal of trepidation among the fan community whether or not it would hold up compared to the seminal work. Everyone wants to compare the second series based on the first — and it’s hard to measure up to something that gosh-wowed the anime world the first time around. As near as I can tell, reaction to Fam the Silver Wing remains a mixed bag — but from my own personal perspective, I’ve come away largely impressed after the first two episodes. Haven’t been bored once.


For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “The second episode is an improvement over the first episode and it delivers the big, loud and easy action in a decent way. Since the series doesn’t feel like sharing at this moment it’s difficult to really sympathize with what’s going on since that’s simply unclear. Therefore what this series needs now are quiet moments to develop and deepen the stuff that were introduced in the beginning two episodes.” – Otakuness
    • “Now this is more like it! It seems that the fears of excessive fanservice were misplaced.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
    • “My impres­sions for the first epis­ode of Last Exile were largely the same as they were for Guilty Crown. Looks hella pretty, room for the plot to improve, please add some depth to these char­ac­ters. Guilty Crown took this advice on board, tied them up, stuck them in the boot of its car and drove it off a cliff. Did Last Exile fol­low in its sui­cidal tire tracks? Nope, some­how Gonzo have gone 2 epis­odes without screw­ing everything up.” – The Cart Driver
    • “While Last Exile can’t match up to Guilty Crown in visuals, it certainly has a lot going for it in that department. The actually CG doesn’t exactly look amazing, but the way in which it’s used in the dogfights in the air are pretty cool. There’s definitely one thing for sure; Gonzo isn’t holding your hand and babywalking you through the beginning of the story. We get an immediate introduction to an all out war between two opposing sides, and oh man, was it a sight to see.” – Emory Anime Club
    • “It was a nicely action packed episode. It helps that this series is much more plot driven which is something I always look for. I am just waiting for more of the plot to unfold to give it a more definite thumbs up, it is still too early; There is lots of room to screw up still. At least they are doing a good job mixing in CG into the art style. I am really liking that small touch.” – Clanrain
    • “It’s still too early to write “Fam” off as “The Phantom Menace”. All it really has to do is step back and give us some time with the characters and a reason to care about them – sounds easy, right?…I suspect the answer won’t be apparent for a few more weeks at the very least, but no one will be rooting harder than me for it to happen.” – Lost in America

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain

      Coming up next: Fate Zero, Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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Anime Review: Phi-Brain Episode 2

Anime Review:
Phi-Brain Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Phi Brain: Puzzle of God is an original 25-episode anime television series between October 2011 and April 2012, airing on NHK Educational Network. Kaito is a master at his high school at solving all kinds of puzzles. Along with his assistant Nonoha, he discovers a massive “unsolvable” puzzle near his school, and ends up battling the mysterious “Puzzle of God” for his very life.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: Kaito, using his ‘special powers’ solves the underground maze puzzle and saves himself and Nonoha. The next day at school, he meets up with another annoying puzzle solver known as Gammon. When Kaito is called to solve another “Puzzle of God” puzzle, Gammon butts into the action. Trapped in a life-size version of the ‘parking cars’ game, Kaito once again saves the day.

My Impressions: Everything that I found distasteful about the first episode, I find equally as distasteful in the second episode.

One thing that makes Phi-Brain so unenjoyable is Kaito himself, who is definitely in the competition for the most insufferable and dislikable character of the year. As hard-headed as a mule, always yelling, always frowning, lashing out at everyone about everything — I wonder why the hell Nonoha would stick around that jerk. Then again, she hasn’t proven to be exactly the smartest girl on the short bus, herself. (And the overbearing, brash, braggart Gammon who apparently is being introduced as one of Kaito’s rivals — not exactly an improvement in character over Kaito. Hate him, too.)

Also, for a show that is about puzzles, I remain underwhelmed. While I cannot say that I am a fan of the American movie series “National Treasure”, at least they get the idea of these huge, cryptic secret-society puzzles *right*, with tension and excitement and honest-to-god mystery. In this second episode we have our protagonists facing off against a bwa-ha-hah-eeeeeevil-style-minor-level-boss-bad-guy in a…wait for it…real life parking car game. For those unaware, it’s the kind of game where various cars are ‘parked’ on a sealed grid, and you have to slide them back and forth until you are able to slide the key car through the exit. So, this relatively easy little puzzle is the best they can do?

The verdict:

In the beginning, I wanted to like Phi-Brain, and the rough concept is kind of intriguing. It’s a shame that they decided to lead it off with the most disagreeable character I’ve come across in a long time, and dumb it down too much. Cool concept, terrible execution.


For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “The show itself is not terrible but the over-the-top reactions of the characters with their awe-filled voices does get on my nerves and destroys the show.” – Otakuness
    • “Despite the puzzles being a little easy so far (my favourite one was the morse code one, and that was barely even a puzzle), at least the show makes the puzzles seem tense. Characters sweat like mad, the music ramps up, and the villain starts laughing evilly. It really is a world where if you can solve a puzzle, you can rule the world. Can’t wait to see how lulzy things get when they try and solve that DIVINE PUZZLE to become closer to God ppffftttt. Well, if you’re gonna do puzzles in a shounen anime, might as well go all the way! This show is corny as hell, but I kind of like that sort of thing.” – Metanorn
    • “Yeah, it’s generic shounen shit — NOW WITH PUZZLE SOLVING! — but it’s also pretty harmless shit. And I think that counts for something. In a medium where twincest, incest, loli fetishism, etc. is the norm, Phi Brain deserves another look.” – Moe Sucks
    • “I still have no idea if this show will be good or not. The episode was entertaining, but I feel like there were just too many things that could go wrong with this title.” – Angry Anime Bitches
    • “So yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous at first glance. Look a bit longer, and it’s still silly. But if you’re willing to accept the absurdity of the premise and just roll with it, there’s some enjoyment to be had.” – The Anti-Otaku

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain

      Coming up next: Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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Anime Review: Guilty Crown Episode 2

Anime Review:
Guilty Crown Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Guilty Crown is an original 22-episode anime television series aired between October 2011 and March 2012 as part of the Noitamina time slot. In the future, Japan has been decimated by a virus, and is now occupied by a heavy-handed military international organization. Shu is little more than an ordinary high school student until he meets a member of the resistance organization Funeral Parlor, and in the heat of battle is bestowed a mysterious power that allows him to extract weapons from other peoples’ bodies.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: After a strategic retreat following battling the government forces, Shu is confronted by the rebel leader, who is disgruntled because the genome virus that infected Shu was intended for him. The “Big Bad Government Baddies” target a group of civilians to draw out the Undertakers, and it works. But they soon learn they have bit off a bit more than they can chew when Shu breaks out his special powers and totally pwns them. When invited to join the Undertakers, Shu turns them down flat, wanting instead to return to his own, boring life.

My Impressions: I want to believe.

I mean, I really want to believe in Guilty Crown, because it truly is a gorgeous show, with stunning visuals and top-notch animation. However, no amount of gobsmackingly purty pictures on the computer screen can offset an otherwise subpar story or unbelievable plot.

In the first two episodes there were just so many times when I wanted to smack my forehead at their stupidity, or pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh in mock frustration. To be fair, the idea of an outrageous or unbelievable story by itself is nothing to complain about — I think I could comfortably say that more than half of all basic story concepts in the world of anime these days defies reality. I guess it really depends upon the tone and timber of the story itself, and how the characters react in their own little made-up universe that matters. And Guilty Crown is…well…guilty of far too many transgressions that I cannot abide.

Yet it is so very easy to get caught up in the visual spectacle of it all, and just drink in the eye candy while you are watching. It is only afterward when I’m trying to tease out the plot and story that I realize just how much of a piece of shit Guilty Crown truly is. It was last week when I was listening to an audio podcast where someone reviewed the first few episodes, in which they accurately described the outline of the story in about ten minutes — and it all sounded so ridiculous and derivative and cliched.

I hate the listless, uninterested-and-uninteresting main character who is playing the avoidant anti-hero (could he be any more unsympathetic?). I positively loathed the new eeeeeevil bad-guy gubmint character they introduced this character who seems to be chaotically evil for no logical reason. The cute girlie character, Inori, really is cute beyond belief…but has about as much personality as a knot of wood. I hate the gobblety-gook science of being able to reach into teenagers and pull out a “Void” weapon — which would be utterly silly except it is compounded silliness because this is a variation of something that has been done before. Same with the bwa-ha-ha-evil! authoritarian government oppressing the poor Japanese public, with a small rag-tag group of rebels in opposition…where have we seen that before?. And I hate mecha…period.

And that’s just for starters. I could go on. I won’t. Guilty Crown is oh-so-pretty to watch, but previous experience has proven that the bloom wears off the rose after a few episodes, and unless there is an actual worthwhile story behind the visuals, it gets wearying very fast. And with a scheduled 22 episodes for the series, I figured I better cut it off at this point. I fear that if I watch it episode-by-episode, watch it with a critical eye and try to detangle the story and plot, by prefrontal cortex will eventually leap out of my forehead and strangle me in defiance.

The verdict:

I think the one moment where I determined that “Yeah, this is shit” was in the middle of the battle when the cute, underaged little cat-eared girl in the skin-tight outfit was doing her Dance Dance Revolution routine in her virtual reality set-up that remotely controls one of the battlesuits/mecha/Endlaves/whatever. And in the middle of the swirling melange of lights, she uses a tap of her butt to close one of the open holographic windows. Uhhhh…yeah. Thank you, World of Anime, for forever etching that memory into my mind.

I might return to Guilty Crown at some indefinite point in the future, but not to watch it with any serious thought. More like on Netflix if it comes out dubbed in English, so that I can sort-of watch it in the background when I’m only paying attention to the television screen 20% of the time, and typing away on my computer 80% of the time. Dubbed anime where I can turn by brain off makes for great background noise/entertainment.


For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “It looks like I’ll have to seriously re-adjust my expectations for this series. As of now, the one standout category for Guilty Crown is it’s production quality. The animation quality maintained it’s high standards from last week, and looked absolutely gorgeous. The story, on the other hand, does still feel a bit lackluster.” – Emory Anime Club
    • “GOD. DAMMIT!! Stop being some fucking generic, lame-ass, shonen filled, re-hashed, Geass rip-off!!!! For the love of Christ please don’t waste the tools you have. I really want to try to like this show, and I have hopes that it will at least attempt to try to make it’s story better than what it seems like it will be. You don’t have to follow the same tropes as everything else, you don’t have to remake Code Geass, you don’t have to fuck this up.” – The Notaku Blog
    • “You know, like the main character is bland, and the series has one cliché after another. Guy meets girl with special power, and now she’s in his high school class. By the way, he has a window seat! Quite frankly, I don’t even care…The psychopathic character is the second biggest attention grabber, followed by the mysterious girl. So you see, even if the main lead is bland, the show still offers enough entertainment to go around. Besides, he has time to improve.” – Meeping Anime
    • “Well, that was a very suspense- and action-filled episode. We got guns, mechs, swords, and girls screaming in pleasurable agony. I get that the series is aiming for eradicating the evil empire aimed in making those who are less privileged suffer but I can’t seem to find the middle ground in all this. What is the turning point in all this?…Overall. This episode is breathtaking. It takes no stops to deliver the action it wanted. Action, suspense is what came into me in this. So I don’t have any qualms on this one.” – The Dere Moe Project
    • “The second episode didn’t change much about the overall impression of disappointment hovering over this series. The concentration on action in this episode showed what each episode should look like to make this at least a decent action-shounen-series. But the ending of the second episode instead made sure that the bad stereotypes not yet covered by this series also get mentioned in the next episode surely.” – Otakuness

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2, Guilty Crown

      Coming up next: Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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Anime Review: Chihayafuru Episode 2

Anime Review:
Chihayafuru Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Chihayafuru is a 25-episode anime television series airing between October 2011 and March 2012, based on a shoujo romance manga by Yuki Suetsugu. Chihaya has always put all her effort in supporting the modeling career of her older sister, until one day she meets a reclusive transfer student who introduces her to the competitive world of karuta. Now, years later, in high school she continues to pursue the game of karuta in hopes of meeting her friend again.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: In this episode of Li’l Karuta Rascals… Li’l Taichi bets that he can beat Li’l Arata at the upcoming karuta tournament. With his reputation on the line, Li’l Taichi goes dirty pool and steals Li’l Arata’s glasses, so he can’t see the cards. As he heads for defeat, Li’l Chihaya butts in as Li’l Arata’s replacement and bests Li’l Taichi. While Li’l Chihaya is thrilled, her family doesn’t care in the slightest. Li’l Taichi finally befriends Li’l Arata, and they life happily ever after.

My Impressions: Hey, hey! I am now finally getting around to reviewing the second episodes of all the shows from the Fall 2011 Television Season that received a “thumbs up” — let’s see what shows survive to the next round!

It’s Part Two of the elementary school flashback that introduces the main characters and their motivations. Li’l Arata, Li’l Chihaya and Li’l Taichi are cute and all, but I’m sort of hoping that they’ll wrap up this flashback sequence soon, because at this point it beginning to feel like a “very special episode” of The Wonder Years, complete with that sickly-sweet, cloying feeling forced nostalgia.

But that being said, this was a fairly effective way of quickly defining the characters, and we certainly do get the solid impression of Chihaya’s strong-headed willfulness and emotional cluelessness. Likewise with Arata’s autistic laser-like focus on his one-and-only skill (karuta), and with Taichi…well, he’s pretty much your average half-devil/half-angel little boy, full of braggadocio and guilt and snips and snails and puppy tails and all that shit.

And I think we have a good overall feel for the game of karuta as well (to wit: sort of a cross between Spoons and Concentration). As far as I can tell, there really isn’t that much of a “skill” involved — to be a good player it seems all you have to do is memorize a couple lines from a whole bunch of old poems and be really fast.

Given that there isn’t a whole lot of strategy involved with the game, I really hope they don’t delve too deep in the minutiae of karuta (as opposed to the excruciating intricacies of mahjong covered ad nauseum in Saki), or this show could get really boring really fast. But honestly, I don’t think that’s going to happen, as it seems this is going in the direction of heavy character interaction. Which is a good thing.

The verdict:

But I really do hope they wrap up the whole flashback bit soon, and start moving forward with the modern-day story instead. The fumbling innocence of elementary students has limited appeal to me.

Oh, it really did sting a little bit when Li’l Chihaya was calling her family all-so-proud at winning the school tournament, only to get completely rejected by her mother and dismissively ridiculed by her sister. I realize their actions were not so much mean-spirited as they were out of a total lack of caring or empathy, but I did want to reach through telephone line and slap them around a little bit. Unintentional cruelty really hurts.


For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “Chihayafuru continues to surprise here, with it’s rather charming cast of characters leaving a great impression. The cast really has a sense of realism and personality to them, with even the bits of drama due to jealousy and guilt feeling very real and not blown over the top. There’s a strange sense of honestly and naivety to the kids here, and makes the entire premise feel rather genuine.” – Emory Anime Club
    • “I sort of want to cry after having seen this episode. It is not because it was sad, nor is it because it was emotional, but simply because I could not help but cringe multiple times whilst watching the show and that disappointed me. One thing this episode did for me was that it reaffirmed my lack of tolerance for brats.” – Otakuness
    • “lol the irony of this series is, I keep telling myself that i would have dropped the manga during certain scene but still loving this show.” – Conspicuous Klux
    • “I’m not necessarily complaining about the plot’s realism. Rather, the drama just feels a little too cheap and a little too forced for my liking. Every drama is contrived to a certain extent, but when the story becomes too transparent in its designs, the narrative immersion is ruined for me. I should be finding myself lost in the story, but instead, I’m removed from it and picking at the structure.” – Moe Sucks

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2

      Coming up next: Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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Anime Review: Ben-To Episode 2

Anime Review:
Ben-To Episode 2

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Ben-To is a 12-episode weekly anime television series based on a light novel series, airing between October and December 2011. Yoh Satou has recently started attending a private high school, and heads out in search for a cheap meal for dinner. But little does he know that he gets sucked into an all-out battle royale for half-priced bento lunch boxes at the local supermarket.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: Yoh joins the “Half-Priced Food Lovers Club” and begins his apprenticeship in the fine art of fighting for ben-to lunch boxes. He meets other fighters, including Yuu “The Wizard”, as well as obstacles like “The Boar” who absconds with the food before battle, or “The Wolf Pack” that descend on the supermarket in overwhelming numbers. Despite this, Yoh emerges victorious on his first night, with a special meal sticker that earns him kudos with Sen.

My Impressions: Hey, hey! I am now finally getting around to reviewing the second episodes of all the shows from the Fall 2011 Television Season that received a “thumbs up” — let’s see what shows survive to the next round!

Yes, yes…the very concept of the show is utterly ridiculous. And yet, I think part of the charm lies in that very fact. Once you accept the idea of teenage kids fighting tooth and nail for cheap food — as an underground sport — it all seems to come together. And as long as they don’t try to take it all too seriously (and they’re *not*), all is good.

But I think ultimately the series will succeed or fail based on how interesting the characters become, and how well the interact with each other. We start with the main character Yoh, playing the part of the hapless deer-in-the-headlights guy dumped into the middle of it all. At first, he could be going down the route of the indecisive weakling (the “Shinji”, a character type that has infected and ruined so many shows of late, and which I’ve lamented about before); but in the middle of this episode he has a moment of revelation when talking with “The Wizard”, and basically says fuck it, I’m going to go for it. Hooray for characters with a bit of spine!

There’s also Sen, who really takes a bit of a backseat this time around, but it seems she’s not going to be as much of the emotionless, unapproachable character type (the “Rei Ayanami”), but may actually show hints of emotion, hooray for that as well. The club is rounded out by the always-eager-yet-useless Hana…I’m not so sure where she fits in the series yet. Nor am I certain about the comedy relief of the student council prez Ume, who is downright obsessed with Hana. We also get glimpses of some of the other food fighters, such as The Wizard, and I’m sure we’ll be introduced to more to come.

So far, so good. Ben-To is nothing special, but good for a lightweight diversion, although I wonder if the concept can really carry a full season of shows. Then again, as I said above it’s not so much about the all-out battles themselves, but the characters bouncing off each other. Let’s see how that develops.

The verdict:

Oh yeah, and I definitely noticed how repeatedly the first-person point-of-view through Yoh’s eyes kept gravitating downwards whenever he was speaking with a woman…down away from the eyes towards the chest. I found that hi-LARious because it is so true. Sorry girls, but when you’re a teenage boy drenched in hormones, it is all to common to try and steal a glance (awkwardly turning into a stare when you think no one is looking) whenever possible. But what makes it so funny is how they do it, with the camera view slowwwwwly panning down… Yes, it’s true; all teenage guys are horn-dogs at heart.


For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “The reverential pomposity of a samurai epic combined with the outrageous humor really works. You’ve also got a very strong cast and a visual style with a ton of flair. Put it all together and you have a solid comedy with a lot of potential.” – Lost in America
    • “I’m too busy having my mouth open the entire time than to complain that Satou has no personality at all as a character, is completely uninteresting, and keeps wandering his vision to breasts…The pacing’s really nice though, speeding through what could have been dragged out to be several episodes, and combo’d with the frenetic fights sprinkled between scenes, it’s hard to stay bored.” – Random Curiosity
    • “This episode does an amazing episode of showing how that this anime is more than just a senseless battle for food. The writers look as though they put real thought into certain aspects in this anime that are so surprising and clever, it actually makes sense. I also appreciate how this anime utilizes Sato’s attraction to women. Go Ben-To.” – Media Beast
    • “The notions of Pride, Strength etc are forced upon the setting of fighting over bentos and none of it felt natural to me. The writers had tried to integrate the generic morals of fighting into the setting of fighting over food and having pride in a fight but because of the whole concept, it felt cheap and questionable instead. Everything was simply a “what the hell” sort of thing for me.” – Otakuness

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2

      Coming up next: Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero,Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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Anime Review: Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2 Episode 2

Anime Review:
Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2 Episode 2

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Shinryaku Ika Musume, or “Invader Squid Girl”, is a weekly anime television series based on a comedy manga by Masahiro Anbe. The first 12-episode series aired during the Fall of 2010, and the second 12-episode season between September and December 2011. The story follows a young Squid Girl who is angered by humanity’s defiling the oceans, so she arrives on a beach one day to subjugate the human race. But she soon discovers she may have bitten off more than she can chew, and ends up working as a waitress in a small beach cafe as she continues to plan her eventual conquest.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: Ika Musume visits elementary school and plays soccer, only to discover that, with the exception of her tentacles, she’s extremely clumsy. Nagisa and Ayumi dress up to attract more attention for the cafe, but end up attracting Ika Musume’s jealousy. Later, they discover Ika Musume has the power to change her weight at will.

My Impressions: Hey, hey! I am now finally getting around to reviewing the second episodes of all the shows from the Fall 2011 Television Season that received a “thumbs up” — let’s see what shows survive to the next round!

This is a season of “second seasons”. Not only do we have another batch of Shinryaku Ika Musume, but also another batch of Working!, as well as another round of Bakuman. If there is one thing that I’ve learned, it is that the “second seasons” are essentially no different from the first seasons. Well, not really “learned”, because I already knew that going into this little boondoggle; more like “reinforced” what I already knew.

So, if the second season of the same show is often nothing more than an extension of the first season — then it really boils down to a question of how much I liked the first season. With Working! and Bakuman, I was pretty “meh” with the first seasons, and likewise my opinion is pretty “meh” with the second season as well. But I considered Shinryaku Ika Musume the best comedy of 2010 (and in fact the 4th best series of the year overall). Hence, I an enjoying the second season as well.

To be clear, we are not covering any new ground here — the characters have the same quirks and foibles (and, alas, annoyances), the comedy remains light-weight and inconsequential, each episode is broken into three short episodes with a different joke or topic. There’s not really any continuity to speak of — just one throw-away joke after another.

And it all centers around the still-adorable-as-ever Ika Musume. She remains as haughty as they day we first met her (no waning in her enthusiasm or ego), but her experience, talent and skill remain…less than awe-inspiring. For example, even though she has mad skillz with her tentacles, that does not translate over to her hand-eye coordination, as we learn on the soccer pitch.

Shinryaku Ika Musume is never going to be knock-your-socks-off amazing, but as far as light entertainment goes, it hits the spot. Not every show has to be fraught with deep meaning or angst, after all. And perhaps most refreshing, it is one of the few shows out there that does not have to resort to inappropriate fan-service for attention. Yay! Frankly, I wish more shows would follow Shinryaku Ika Musume’s lead.

The verdict:

One more thing: Are we sure that she’s a Squid Girl…and not a cat? We learned that (through a twist of her bracelet), she can change her weight at will. And my immediate thought was, “Hey, that’s a cat’s ability!” After all, anyone who has ever owned a cat — and tried to pick one up when they don’t want to be picked up — will know that cats can seemingly change their density at will. Suddenly it seems like that eight pound ball of fur has turned into a floppy fifty pound sack of suet.


For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “I know they picked much of the first season from some of the funnier moments of the manga, so I was slightly concerned that the second season wouldn’t be as good. But after watching the first two episodes, I’m no longer worried. Surely there were moments of discovery, such as the “umbrella” episode, that can’t be recreated, but now that she’s more familiar with land-based-life, Ika will surely have more opportunities to plan her invasion.” – Moe Monster
    • “Looks like last week was a bit of a false alarm – after this week, I can say with confidence that everyone’s favorite squid girl is truly back.” – Lost in America
    • “The jokes were hilarious, and strangely enough, worked out without being too repetitive or redundant. Seriously, if every episode turns out like this one, we’re in for one heck of a treat.” – Emory Anime Club
    • “So episode 2 wasn’t a total loss but I’m hoping they can rekindle some of that chemistry of the first season because right now, I feel that the current second season quality is such that I think I would have dropped it already if I hadn’t already watched the first season of Ika Musume in its entirety.” – No Name Anime Blog

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2

      Coming up next: Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero,Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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Anime Review: Mirai Nikki Episode 2

Anime Review:
Mirai Nikki Episode 2

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Mirai Nikki, or “Future Diary”, is a 26-episode weekly anime television series aired between October 2011 and April 2012, based on a long-running sci-fi/action manga by Sakae Esuno. Yuki Amano discovers that he is being told about the future one day in advance through diary entries on his cell phone. But he also has become an unwilling entrant in a “Diary Game”, where he is competing against several other people with the same gift in a battle royale where only one contestant will survive to the end.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: With Yuki unsure how to proceed, he is forced into running for his life when Minene, another diary owner, holds the school hostage with several bombs. After his initial indecision, he decides to form an alliance with Yuno, and they manage to survive Minene’s attacks. As Minene escapes, Yuki and Yuno also decide to ally themselves with Detective Keigo, who is also a diary owner.

My Impressions: Hey, hey! I am now finally getting around to reviewing the second episodes of all the shows from the Fall 2011 Television Season that received a “thumbs up” — let’s see what shows survive to the next round!

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have the clear successor in the viewing slot for the Spring 2011 Season’s Deadman Wonderland in my viewing lineup. Let’s hope that Mirai Nikki ends up being more interesting.

There are *some* similarities between the two shows, such as the indecisive teen male character who is immediately befriended/saved by a mysterious girl. They also have completely over-the-top concepts that bear no reality to, well…reality. And they both have a serious mean streak running through them. But mostly, they both have the same *feel* and *tone* — it’s hard to describe exactly.

Well, at the very least, Mirai Nikki has a much brighter and interesting color pallet. (As opposed to Deadman Wonderland which is oftentimes lit with little more than a ten-watt bulb).

Anyway, enough of trying to compare Mirai Nikki with something else — how about just looking at the episode on its own merits? Yuki remains annoyingly hesitant (an overplayed character type that pops up waaaaay too often as the male lead in waaaaay too many anime shows). This is, of course, offset by the frightening stalker-girl Yuno, who is giving Ringo from Mawaru Penguin Drum a run for the money in the category of most bat-shiat-crazy-ass character of the year.

Plus we now have properly introduced two new characters: The nucking futs Bomber Girl and the aloof Detective Guy, and already alliances are starting to form. We still have, uh, seven more diary owners to introduce over the next several episodes, so there’s plenty of time to form all sorts of tangled relationships…and watch them double-cross each other in a fight to the death. After all, there can be only one. This could get very complicated very fast. At least, that’s what I hope.

The verdict:

There was one OH MY FUCKING GOD NO NO NO moment as Yuki nearly takes out Bomber Girl with one of his darts, and at the very last moment ends up taking out her left eye instead. If I have any sort of phobia, it would be touching/damaging the eyeball which FREAKS ME THE FUCK OUT. Jeezus.


For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “Phew, if there’s one thing that Mirai Nikki does well, it’s creating a rather intense atmosphere. Admittingly, this series also gets very over-the-top with it’s plot twists, which is made even more prominent by the sheer lack of any guts in the main character Yukiteru. Nevertheless, the story continues to devolve into one heck of a chaotic mess between wielders of Future diaries, some ruthlessly hunting others down.” – Emory Anime Club
    • “Like the first episode, there’s a very strong mood of desperation and suspense which works very well with the music and the way the episode was directed – I didn’t feel bored once.” – Moeronpan
    • “All that mental priming for a bloodbath was for naught. Although the later parts of the episode did deliver on the violence and explosions, what really left me watching with my mouth agape was the total psychosis of the characters.” – The Kotatsu
    • “You may have figured this out already, but Mirai Nikki probably isn’t the best choice if you’re looking for something to restore your faith in humanity.” – Random Curiosity
    • “Overall, this episode made the show seem like a a series that would provide some second grade chills and cheap entertainment. As for whether it will turn out to be something more substantial in the near future… I am hoping that it does because this show is not really griping me at this moment despite its unique plot.” – Otakuness

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2

      Coming up next: Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero,Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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