Tales of Xillia and Gaming Things

Konachan.com - 119381 blonde_hair jude_mathis milla_maxwell pocky red_eyes tales_of_xillia

So Tales of Xillia was localized to English not so long ago and I just finished the game last night. I’m too lazy for a “formal review”, so this is my substitute (plus it’s not technically anime, though I consider JRPG to be close). Basic background: the game follows Jude Mathis, a med student who is pulled into the fate of Milla Maxwell, the self-proclaimed Lord of Spirits who is on a mission to destroy a human weapon beneath Jude’s med school. They throw a wrench in with this game by allowing you to choose Milla or Jude as main character to get slightly differing stories.

I personally played Jude’s story. Based on what I’ve read online, you get a different perspective of character development, so it doesn’t really change my opinion. I really didn’t enjoy the ending of the game…and I hear it’s the same for each story. It’s not really a satisfying ending and it feels rushed. This game took me four afternoons and two whole weekend days to finish, so take that into perspective. And having played Tales of Symphonia, Tales of the Abyss, and Tales of Graces, not much is new story-wise here. No real surprises. Though to be fair, Jude and Milla are not as insufferable as protagonists like Lloyd Irving and Luke fon Fabre.

Konachan.com - 116106 alvin ekoo jude_mathis milla_maxwell tales_of_xillia

The gameplay uses a system similar to the CC system in Tales of Graces, where your combos are limited by a certain number. Unlike the CC system though, your moves still cost TP and everything consistently costs 1 CC (or AC as it is called in Xillia). Honestly, I think that when you get the hang of everything, it’s a lot simpler of a system to keep track of than Tales of Graces. Also, the shops in the game are all synchronized, which is nice. You can trade materials or gald in to increase each shop’s level, unlocking more items. I thought it made the game super easy, though (I played on Moderate). You tend to run kinda low on gald too.

So yeah…this game doesn’t rank too high for me against other Tales games (except Symphonia 2 because that game was a joke). It’s not really cringeworthy, though, so it’s probably fine for people new to the franchise or people who are casual fans of the franchise (like me). Anyway, I made a poll for the game I play next. It should be in the sidebar. Maybe you want me to scope the game out for you or you know the game and just want my personal take on it…whatever the reason, vote for that game.

Advertisements

Anime Review: Brave 10

Brave 10

So, another show from the Sengoku era. Unlike Sengoku Basara, this show has Yukimura depicted as a lord, rather than a simple soldier. The story follows Saizo Kirigakure, an assassin who is recruited by Yukimura, who is attempting to gather ten warriors to fight for him. Unfortunately, most of the story ends up just being about finding the ten people. It’s not really until like episode 9 or 10 that you find out exactly why Yukimura is doing it. When stuff actually starts happening, it happens pretty quick. It’s really the kind of plot you’d expect from a show like this. Still, there’s a lot of good action and fighting in these episodes. Maybe it’s a curse of shorter shows like this that pacing is such an issue. The ending is also too abrupt…no real warning. They also kill the main antagonist in a pretty cheap way…especially when he was beating all over Saizou in every other episode.

Story: Score 66/100

The characters were decent, I guess. Each of the 10 heroes embodies a different element, which becomes pretty obvious in their personality. Character development is only really seen in Saizou, and maybe Isanami. The other characters remain fairly static, and you only get background from a couple of them. I don’t even know if that wind person was a guy or not…so confusing. As for Saizou, his character development is pretty straightforward…nothing surprising. He starts off as the cocky and standoffish guy who slowly softens as the show goes on. Isanami isn’t that much better. She’s introduced as a fairly carefree and cheerful girl that houses some deep dark secret that she eventually is forced to accept with Saizou’s help. Also…she’s pretty annoying >.> Date Masamune makes some appearances in the show, but he really isn’t a central antagonist like you would expect for a show with Sanada Yukimura.

Characters: Score 65/100

Animation in this show good. I didn’t really notice anything weird, and the fights looked okay. Pretty much what you’d expect from a battle anime…decent fights and random names for attacks. Characters designs seemed okay to me…I guess my reaction to it was “indifferent.” Music seemed pretty suited for the era and for the fighting. It worked for the show. The opening theme is a bit strange…I’m okay with listening to it, but it just seems off for some reason. The ending theme was pretty good, though…I liked it. Yeah, the voices sound distorted, but it just sounded cool to me.

Animation: Score 80/100

Music: Score 83/100

In the end, this is a show I’d show only to people who really liked mainstream or something. Although, that may be a bit much…not even sure if Bleach fans would like this show excessively (I have a test subject, though…I’ll let you know of the results). I also have a friend who says he really likes Sengoku era shows, so I guess this might be for him too. I’d say that you could watch this show if you’re just looking for some battles without having to think too much. Otherwise, there are probably plenty of other Sengoku shows that you could check out.

Final Score: 72/100

Anime Review: Inu x Boku SS

Inu x Boku SS

This is one of those shows that I wasn’t initially planning on watching because the SS made me think it was some sort of second season or something. I’m really glad I watched it, though, because I enjoyed it a lot. It tells the story of Ayakashi Kan, a mansion with a very special kind of tenant, each assigned their own Secret Service agent as a bodyguard. One such tenant is Ririchiyo Shirakiin, a girl who has a problem of insulting people due to her inexperience with other people. Ririchiyo is against the idea of having an SS agent, but she meets Soushi Miketsukami, who insists on protecting her and serving her, claiming that she once saved him.

The show really continues on being a simple slice of life as Ririchiyo meets new people in Ayakashi Kan and becomes more comfortable with other people, but there is also a romance building in the background. Having read the manga, I realize that there were a bunch of episodes with extra stuff thrown in, but I really like how they eventually end the show. Also, the random antics in the other episodes are incredibly entertaining. I probably laughed every episode. I was worried that they weren’t really using the demon thing very much, but it ended up working out nicely.

Story: Score 90/100

The characters in this show were all pretty good. First off, we have Ririchiyo Shirakiin, characterized as tsunshun rather than tsundere because she gets depressed instead of becoming more nice. Her character development ends up being pretty nice, and she makes things entertaining by trying to be so serious and cool around everyone. Soushi Miketsukami is a bit of a strange character. At times, his overzealous devotion to Ririchiyo can be a bit excessive, but he ends up having a really interesting character background. Adding to that, we have Ririchiyo’s classmates Banri Watanuki and Karuta Roromiya. Banri’s mostly there for the comedy, a self-proclaimed delinquent constantly trying to proof his strength. Karuta, I’d say, is there for the fans…she’s just so cute. She acts like an airhead, but ends up being pretty perceptive at times.

Then, we have Nobara Yukinokouji, the perverted woman that adds the comedy, Renshou Sorinozuka, who adds in a bit of nonchalance, and Zange Natsume, who’s just a little bit nuts. Finally, we have Kagerou Shoukiin, the charismatic masked man who is probably the most entertaining of them all. The show focuses mostly on Ririchiyo, so you don’t really see much development from the other characters…still, I don’t think I had a problem with any of them. I liked all of the characters, although maybe the side characters a tad bit more than the main characters.

Characters: Score 92/100

The animation in this show was pretty good. They switch between the more typical anime depictions of the characters and the more gag-style depictions very nice for comedic effect. There are even a couple of action scenes that looked pretty nice. The music in this show was was pretty impressive. The background music seemed to work out okay, and I have no real complaints. But the real story was in the themes. The opening theme, which looking a bit strange, sounded amazing. Also, each character gets their own ending theme, so the ending changes nearly every episode, and they were all good songs. Some of them, like Karuta’s, were particularly great. I can’t wait for the character albums to come out.

Animation: Score 90/100

Music: Score 93/100

In the end, I really enjoyed watching this show. I’m pretty sure it was because the show was good and not because it came out on the same day as Guilty Crown and I was already in a bad mood when I watched it, but I can never be sure. I probably wouldn’t mind recommending this show to most of my friends…it was a good laugh with every episode. The manga is still going on, so I’d love to see a second season…but we’ll just have to see. There doesn’t seem to be any indications yet.

Final Score: 91/100

Anime Review: Another

Another

This is a show that I’ve enjoyed following as it aired. Basically, Sakakibara Kouichi transfers into a class that seems strange for some reason. There’s a story in this class about a class years ago where a student named Misaki died. However, the class chose to pretend that Misaki was still alive, even up to graduation. Kouichi meets a girl named Misaki Mei, and starts to take an interest in her. The story follows him as he tries to solve the mystery behind his classmates and their strange behavior. When he finds out, he is thrust into a race to solve everything to prevent the deaths of his classmates.

This show presents itself as a horror series, and it certainly tries to uphold that with the death and ridiculous amounts of blood. However, I saw this show more to be a mystery, giving out hints and clues for the viewers to solve it with the characters. I had a ton of fun coming up with theories every single week. Still, there are cliffhangers galore, which can be a bit frustrating when following an airing show, but definitely effective in keeping interest. Also, I have to give props to the show in the end. While it’s true that they get a little excessive with the killing to the point of being a bit comic, I have to say that their decision to use mob psychology was very well done and incredibly interesting to watch. Also, the ending that they use is very appropriate. I thought it was well done.

Story: Score 92/100

The characters in this show tend to be fairly bland. Kouichi isn’t that stellar of a protagonist, but he gets things moving. Mei was a pretty cool character, mysterious and quiet. Akazawa Izumi, the tsundere, was a nice character too, but doesn’t really make all too many appearances early on. Teshigawara Naoya takes the role of comedic support (which is awkward in a horror story, but it wasn’t that bad). Mochizuka Yuuya, the frail art kid, finishes up the really major characters. There are plenty of supporting characters in the class, but most of them are really just there to die. Sometimes, they made it pretty obvious who was going to be killed when they throw in random background characters in an important scene.

Characters: Score 86/100

The animation in this show didn’t really stand out to me in any way, but it wasn’t exactly bad. Everything had an eerie look to it, but the random scenes of dolls may have been a bit much. The music was a bit disappointing for me. The main theme is super mysterious and sets a great mood for a horror story. However, they try to alter that main theme to sound lighter in the more cheerful scenes, and it doesn’t really work out that well. It just seemed very out of place to me. The opening theme wasn’t too impressive…sounded like a normal song from ALI PROJECT if you like their music. The ending theme was a lighter song…a bit better, but still not that impressive.

Animation: 85/100

Music: 80/100

If you think you can handle the blood and gore, I thought this was a very nice mystery-esque show to keep you guessing. It’s easy to get spoiled, though, so be careful (I learned that the hard way). I could have spent hours talking about my theories for the show…there were tiny clues everywhere. Eventually, it came down to process of elimination with so few characters remaining. Not the strongest show in the world, but I found it pretty entertaining. I don’t usually watch horror shows, but I didn’t mind this one so much…maybe because I classify it as mystery and the deaths didn’t really bother me. Man am I glad the cliffhangers are over…they were bad for my heart.

Final Score: 85/100

Marth’s Unofficial Guide to Writing Anime Reviews

I’ve been writing a lot of reviews lately, so I came up with this idea. There’s no correct way to write a review, so this isn’t really a guide. It’s more of an attempt by me to walk through the process I use to write each of my reviews. Naturally, this process has changed a lot since I started, but these days, I have a sort of rhythm to them so that they don’t seem like a hassle. For my examples, I’ll be using Code Geass to make things easy. Usually, I take a few days (probably around half a week to a week) to write a review and this is important. When I finish a show, I’m super excited and ready to talk about it. It’s important that this doesn’t blind side me, so I give it a few days to die down.

Step 1: The first thing I always do is research. Look at other blogs or look on sites like MyAnimeList or AnimeDB. Find out what everyone else is saying about this show. This step has two aims. The first is to come up with ideas or to remember things that I have missed. Make sure I have all of the data. The second is more psychological. I find that my views coincide with others or something to give myself the confidence to put forth my opinion. Of course, I’d never copy another person’s review…this is purely inspirational.

Step 2: The next part is simple. Write everything down. I don’t like to just start typing up a review cold turkey. Instead, I create a note list where I put down all of the points I want to make sure I cover. This keeps me organized and helps with not forgetting something I want to say. This step usually spans a few days. I’ll keep the note list active and write down a point the second it comes to me. It doesn’t matter how it’s organized. Just write every thought down so you don’t forget. I’ll probably come up with more stuff while I’m writing, but I have to make sure I don’t miss certain things.

Step 3: Now that I have some content, the next step is to create a template. By this, I mean making a post on my blog (a draft) with just the skeleton of the review. This step is usually done in bulk for multiple shows. When I’m trying to write a lot of reviews, I don’t want to get bogged down with the mundane parts like making the post, selecting categories, adding tags, and formatting. I want all of this done so that I can just focus on the show itself. So when I have free time, I create a bunch of posts to save myself some time in case I have to review in a pinch or if I’m on a roll reviewing a lot of shows.

Also in this step, if I have notes already or when I start taking notes, I try to organize them into the appropriate parts of the post. Look at the example to see what I mean by that. Plot points going into the story part, stuff about specific characters only go into the character part, stuff about animation and music go into the animation/music part, and anything that doesn’t really fit anywhere else goes into the last part.

Step 4: This is the simplest part. Write the review. I sit down, think about each section and just write. In the story part, I start off by thinking about how I’d tell someone who had never seen the show what it was about. So I try to say it in a way to get them interested in the show without giving anything away. Then, I try to talk about pacing and the ending because those are pretty important to me. Then, just comment on what I liked and what I didn’t like. In the characters portion, I try to name as many characters as I can without having too long of a list of names. Then, I come up with some sort descriptions for the more prominent characters. I try to point out favorites and talk about character developments.

Animation gets a bit tough for me. I can’t really see the flubs in animation that others seem to catch. I do what I can, though, commenting on battles and trying to say if there was anything specific I found that wasn’t up to snuff. Music is where I can go nuts, though. I love to talk about music, so I try to mention how well the music melded with the show. I also talk about the openings and endings, pointing out any particularly good ones. After I’m done writing, I add some screenshots…if I already have some from following the show, then great! But if not, I have to load up some episodes and find some good scenes.

Step 5: This is the last part. When I finish writing, I don’t immediately publish or forget about it. I give the review a “pending” status and give myself at least a day to think it over. Then, I come back and read the entire review again to see what I think of it. I try to catch any mistakes or just points I missed. Also, I proofread and look for spelling/grammar errors. When that’s done, I send the review off and get ready for the next one.

 

I really hope this post has been helpful or entertaining (I don’t care which one it was!). If nothing else, I sure hope you enjoyed this tiny insight to the inner workings of this blog and my own mind!

Anime Review: Nisemonogatari

The anticipated sequel to Bakemonogatari, one of my favorite shows. If you’re unfamiliar with how Bakemonogatari was, this show is basically more of the same. We follow Koyomi Araragi as he goes around solving the supernatural problems of the girls in his life. While Bakemonogatari looked more at girls that Koyomi knew from school and such, Nisemonogatari focuses on Karen and Tsukihi, Koyomi’s younger sisters. The story is split up into two arcs, one for each sister.

While the story was pretty interesting, it was bit tough to find. There were a lot of episodes with Koyomi just randomly talking with one of the girls from the last season or just talking in general. While it was a bit annoying, I think it was nice that they didn’t really let the girls just fall into the background like they did in Bakemonogatari. A lot of the time, it didn’t seem to be related to the story at all and just there to take up time. I felt like the story culminated to about 4 episodes. The season was already short, being only 11 episodes, and to have so much talking time seemed weird to me. Also, the fanservice takes up a lot of time too (*cough* toothbrush scene)

Story: Score 80/100

All of your favorite characters are back from Bakemonogatari. Tsubasa Hanekawa, the knowledgeable one with a new hairstyle, Nadeko Sengoku, with a bit more maturity (?), Suruga Kanbaru, just the same as always, Mayoi Hachikuji, the loli with the huge backpack, and of course, Hitagi Senjougahara, our favorite tsundere with a stapler. I’m not really sure I liked how they changed up Sengoku’s character, but what are you gonna do? Along with the girls from the first season, we get a closer look at Tsukihi and Karen Araragi as we explore their individual stories.

The big addition to the show is Shinobu, the vampire living in Koyomi’s shadow, who takes on a completely different role in Nisemonogatari. She’s arguably the best character in the show. As for the main character, Koyomi Araragi, they really seemed to make him more….lewd? in this second season. I dunno…I found it a bit annoying. Yeah, I get that screwing around with Hachikuji is funny, but it’s still weird to see. I thought he was more interesting as a character in the first season…maybe true of most of the characters.

Characters: Score 85/100

The animation style is pretty similar to Bakemonogatari. I didn’t really notice many changes. It’s an interesting look to thing, and I still liked it. Good music as well. Background music was okay, but the theme songs are where the show really shines. An ending theme by ClariS that sounds great, and opening themes that seem almost like continuations of themes from the first season. My favorite has to be Platinum Disco, Tsukihi’s opening and a possible continuation of Renai Circulation. While the song itself probably wouldn’t have been too impressive, the combination of the song and the opening animation really hooked me.

Animation: Score 90/100

Music: Score 92/100

It was nice to see a second season for Bakemonogatari. But without the love story of the first season, this season didn’t really have as much of an impact on me. It really ended up being too much fanservice and not as much action. Actually, most of it was probably comedy, rather than romance. Still, Shinobu replacing Oshino was pretty cool, and Kaiki ends up being a very intriguing bad guy. Strong visuals and great music. If you haven’t seen Bakemonogatari, go watch it now…either that or read my review of it…then watch it. Then you can come back and watch Nisemonogatari if you want to see your favorite characters again.

Final Score: 85/100

Anime Review: Bakemonogatari

Bakemonogatari

I think I planned to review this show before, but got interrupted by a starting anime season or something. Basically, this series follows Koyomi Araragi, who one day catches a falling girl (I’m not kidding) only to find that she is as light as a feather. This girl, Hitagi Senjougahara, has had her weight stolen from her, and Koyomi recruits the aid of his friend Meme Oshino to help her with her problem. But that’s not the end of the story. Koyomi starts to run into more girls with supernatural problems, and continues to help them solve them.

The story is split up into arcs for each of the girls, each arc being about 2 or 3 episodes. I thought it was a pretty nice, especially as these arcs seem to work to drive the love story that’s going on in the background. I was definitely surprised when the first arc was resolved so early in the show…I didn’t even realize that was how it was being formatted. Also, Koyomi’s a pseudo-vampire, meaning that he has accelerated regenerative properties. What does this mean for the story? Well, there ends up being a decent amount of action in the form of Koyomi getting the crap beaten out of him (he really is as strong as he looks).

Story: Score 92/100

Characters in this show were pretty well done. The main character Koyomi Araragi is pretty entertaining in that he tries to play the normal guy, desperately trying to keep his cool despite the paranormal events that seem to revolve around him. Despite his best efforts, the show is always bringing out the panicked or even perverted sides within him, but I enjoyed his range of behaviors…almost like Katsuragi Keima, but not quite as entertaining. Joining him, we have the self-proclaimed tsundere, Hitagi Senjougahara, who does a great job of complimenting him (I mean in a literary sense, not actual praise). I definitely liked her character a lot…she was always entertaining doing crazy and exaggerated things with a straight face.

With them, we have a few other major female leads, Suruga Kabaru, the eccentric underclassman, Tsubasa Hanekawa, the knowledgeable class president, Mayoi Hachikuji, the spirited loli, and Nadeko Sengoku, the shy friend of the family. I didn’t really have any problems with any of them. Meme Oshino probably ends up being one my favorite characters in this show, though. He’s got a general nonchalance that I always find entertaining, and he always knows what’s going on, always has the answers. Definitely entertaining.

Characters: Score 90/100

The animation in this show is…different. The character designs are definitely unique and they threw me off when I first watched it. Still, everything looked good…although, I’d be prepared for some random blank scenes. But I dunno…I thought it was cool that the scenes were dynamic and not just staring at two people talking. They sorta flash around with camera angles, focusing on other parts of the room, or just the blank scenes. The music is pretty consistent for the most part…nothing really out of place. I thought it all went along well. The opening themes change for each arc, and I like each of them. Staple Stable probably ends up being my favorite, with either Sugar Sweet Nightmare or Renai Circulation following it. Staple Stable just has that calm atmosphere to it. I’m also a big fan of the ending theme…but that could just be because supercell is awesome.

Animation: Score 90/100

Music: Score 90/100

All in all, it was a pretty entertaining experience. Not exactly the most action-packed series ever, but it’s still there. There’s definitely a ton of dialogue, though…that’s basically how the show is. Something I have to point out, though. I understand how they decided to organize the arcs, but it would have been nice to see a bit more interaction between the girls outside of their own arcs. Maybe I’m not looking at it the right way, but I guess I was starting to feel like each arc was its own separate show. Suppose that has something to do with the adaptation from the light novels. Either way, this show still has probably the best love scene I’ve ever seen (not the confession part…episode 12). I’d definitely recommend this series…unless they just really hate SHAFT.

Final Score: 90/100

Anime Review: Kara no Kyoukai

Kara no Kyoukai

So, how do I begin? This is a show I basically knew nothing about when I was going in, but it still managed to impress me in the end. Let’s get started with the story. It follows Shiki Ryougi, who basically solves mysteries of a supernatural nature. It’s an adaptation of a TYPE-MOON light novel series, so the setting is the familiar magical beings and magi and whatnot. What I thought was really cool about the story was that it didn’t follow any sort of linear trajectory. I mean that in the sense that it jumps around through time telling you bits and pieces of the story, leaving it up to you to piece it all together. It’s easy to get confused, but I think that overall, it was a nice effect. When you’re watching it, it starts to look like each movie is just Shiki going around beating a new enemy. However, as you go on, you find out that each battle had a specific purpose and there’s actually something bigger going on in the background. I definitely thought that was pretty cool.

Story: Score 93/100

I understand that it was a bit intentional, but the cast in this show ends up being a bit sparse. We have our main character Shiki Ryougi, who runs around slicing stuff up and the like, and we have Mikiya Kokutou, who basically plays the normal guy who tries to get close to her. Joining them, we have Touko Aozaki, a magus as well and Shiki and Mikiya’s employer, and Azaka Kokutou, Mikiya’s sister who has a crush on him. Other than that, the show basically introduces a new character in each movie to act as an enemy. I like the main cast a lot, every single one of them, but in the end, they’re really all we get. And in the end, they really don’t explore too many character backgrounds other than Shiki’s. They mention something with Touko’s sister, but never revisit it.

Characters: Score 87/100

The animation in this show was impressive, even to someone like me who doesn’t normally notice these things. It’s TYPE-MOON and ufotable, so the character designs are very familiar and much of the style of the animation is reminiscent of Fate/Zero. Still, what really stood out were the battles. Each one of them looked spectacular…if only there weren’t just one or two such scenes in each movie.

As for the music, I think they did a great job of fitting the music to the scenes. The strings make everything sound so dramatic, and the main theme is a nice tune. There were a lot of points where there really isn’t any music playing, and I get that this is intentional, but it really bugged me at couple points. Still, the overall effect is that it really slows down the show at the important parts when music isn’t playing in the background, so it works out.

Animation: Score 96/100

Music: 90/100

This show is actually longer than it looks. At first glance, it’s just seven movies, but it actually turns out to be close to nine hours of content. Still, I’d say it was well worth it. Just a warning…this show is not for the faint of heart. Lots of blood…with relation to Another, I’d say maybe…comparable? I dunno…I still think the battles make up for it. If you think you can handle it, I’d definitely say give it a shot. This show is now making me consider watching Tsukihime to finish off the TYPE-MOON works.

Final Score: 92/100

Anime Review: Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate

I was so so late to watch this show. Basically, the show centers around Okabe Rintarou, a mad scientist who actually creates a microwave that can send text messages into the past with his friends. Basically, it’s a story about time travel, with conspiracy theories thrown around too. The age-old time travel story of how even little changes have such huge effects on history.

If we include the OVA that came out recently, which actually wraps up the story nicely, I’d say that the ending of the show was incredibly well done. Still, stories about time travel can be dangerous and I think this show becomes a little too easy to predict at some points. However, the series makes up for it with zany twists pretty much everywhere that keep every episode exciting (no…there’s no Endless Eight, so relax).

Story: Score 91/100

The characters in this show are pretty much the best part. Okabe Rintarou is probably the most unpredictable character I’ve ever seen. He can make any scene goofy, but he can also make it completely serious. Alongside him, we have Makise Kurisu, who is a fairly classic tsundere, but still amusing. Shiina Mayuri, the cheery airhead, and Hashida Itaru, the computer-savvy otaku, finish off the core characters of the show, and a few supporting characters that pop up a bit later round off the cast. I don’t really think there was a character that I hated (not even the bad guys).

Characters: Score 97/100

The animation in this show was pretty good…nothing so bad that I would notice. No complaints here. The music was pretty good when it showed up. There were a lot of points where the music just wasn’t there, but I felt like it fit the situations. The idea was to make everything pretty mysterious, and the effect was there. Hacking to the Gate is a pretty good song, but I’d have to say it’s a bit overrated. I think I enjoyed the ending theme more just because it has a bit more of a chill tune to it, with the mysterious (almost adventurous) theme that fits the show.

Animation: Score 90/100

Music: Score 92/100

They didn’t lie when they said this show rocked. I definitely enjoyed it. I might even look into the visual novel if I ever have the time. What I thought was incredibly interesting is how they approached time travel. In my eyes, there are two possibilities for the mechanism of time travel. The first is that history is absolute, so if you go back in time, you won’t change history because history would be such that you were meant to go back. The second is that history is flexible, so going back in time either changes the future or creates a separate future (like Trunks in DBZ). The cool part is that this show managed to make both of those true. They never really explain how it makes sense, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

It’s tough to create a confident main character, but I like how this show chooses to pull it off by making him crazy. He doesn’t have to be a genius to be super confident like Lelouch or Light…he’s just nuts. There was a lot of hype for this show before I watched it, and admittedly it made the time travel parts a little bit too predictable. Still, I’d say the hype is very well placed…I liked the show anyway. I can definitely see why it’s so well-rated. Look forward to the movie when it comes out.

Final Score: 93/100

Anime Review: Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru Penguindrum

So in response to that string of blog posts about the 10/10 system, I’m gonna try reviewing with a 100 point system for a change. So let’s talk about Mawaru Penguindrum, a recently finished series from Summer 2011. It follows the story of three siblings, the twins Kanba and Shoma Takakura, as well as their little sister Himari.

Although fairly energetic, Himari is in hospitals often due to a mysterious health condition. One day, Himari collapses. Even after being taken to the hospital, she dies. But then, she mysteriously awakens, but there’s a twist. Her life is linked to a penguin hat, which can take control of her body, ordering Kanba and Shoma to find the Penguindrum to save her life.

When the series starts, most of the episodes are fairly goofy as Shoma and Kanba try to find the mysterious Penguindrum with the penguins that they are given that no one else can see. It’s very light-hearted, but soon turns dark, with mysteries and secrets and the like. In fact, at the end, everything you’re told at the beginning of the show is basically a lie.

The further the series went, the more it messed with my mind. It was sometimes difficult to grasp what was happening. But it was a nice feeling while I was watching, since the show never let me just sit back. It kept throwing things at me left and right, keeping me interested until the end.

I also think the end was done very artfully. I’m not sure if it’s a problem or a boon, but the ending didn’t really leave me with that many questions. I mean, my brain hurt after I saw it, but when I really thought about it, everything really seemed to make sense.

Story: Score 94/100

For starters, we have the main characters: the energetic and diligent Himari, the spazzy brother Shoma, and the cool playboy Kanba. We’re also introduced to Ringo Oginome, who’s honestly my favorite character. She’s a crazy stalker that ends up having a huge role in the story. I loved how characters like Yuri and Tabuki, who seemed fairly clueless, actually had some big role in the main plot as well. And of course, we have the penguins, which aren’t that important in the plot, but provide such amazing comedic relief in every single episode.

Characters: 90/100

The art of this show was definitely unique, with very nice designs for main characters and simple silhouettes that just glided across the screen with no other movements for the random bystanders. It gives everything this surreal sort of atmosphere, which really goes well with how goofy the show itself is. As for the music, I was pretty impressed. A lot of the background is very dark, which fits well with the mysterious nature of the penguin hat. The first opening theme sounded amazing, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the full version. I much preferred the TV size. The second opening and the numerous ending themes were also fairly impressive, but didn’t stand out as much to me.

Animation: Score 92/100

Music: 98/100

Overall, I was impressed. This was one of those shows that was so goofy, it was interesting. I made so many speculations about what would happen, and most of them didn’t happen. I couldn’t follow the trajectory of the story at all. Honestly, I recommend this for anyone. Penguins are awesome! I think my only gripe with the series is that they use that same animation sequence every time the penguin hat calls out Survival Strategy. It gets old after the first few times >.>

Final Score: 92/100