Thursday, February 26, 2015

Highschool DXD New Incomplete Review (1-6)


Highschool DXD New Incomplete Review (1-6)

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first 6 episodes of the second season of Highschool DXD. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

Also, keep in mind that this is an INCOMPLETE review. This is when I can't finish the series beyond its halfway point due to various reasons. These reasons will be covered in the review, among with several GIF's.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

After I watched the first season of Highschool DXD, I wasn't sure what to expect. Based on reviews I had seen online, and several conversations, a lot of users online think that the second season is better than the first. This gave me hope that maybe I could enjoy the second season more, and perhaps find some more good fortune that this anime seemed to promise.

And then later on, after watching episodes 5 and 6 back to back, I'm wondering why I'm the pink elephant in the room. Because in my opinion, Highschool DXD New is a weak follow-up to a show that already has some problems from the get-go. Annoying fan-service gimmicks, a story arc that gave us a somewhat interesting backstory to a character I couldn't care less about, a side story plot that makes me cringe every time it goes on, and a final battle against the main villain of this arc with SO MANY deus ex machinas that you wouldn't even believe.

Of course, this show isn't horrible. I liked that the animation improved, some of the newer characters were interesting, other characters got a bit more development, and I did find some aspects of the second season enjoyable. but compared to the first, it isn't as much. It's a shame that this and Date A Live had to suffer some weak second seasons, as they have promise. At least Kamisama Kiss isn't letting me down.

Before I basically throw darts at this show, I'm going to talk about the things that I liked about it first.

#1: The animation

The animation for this series has improved. There are less times where the girl characters look oddly disproportional in the background, but I only noticed it once during the first 6 episodes. It's in Episode 3, where Koneko tells Irina to be careful of trusting a good fight with Issei due to his perverted powers. If you notice, Koneko, Asia, Rias, and Akeno look really odd, and have thick black lines for their outlines. Compared to Irina in the foreground, who actually looks pretty good.

For example, later on:



And dat Rias face doe. Can I mention that she looks younger now too?

#2: Irina and Xenovia, plus development on Genshiro's part

This season, we are introduced to 2 new characters who work with the Church. Their mission is to try and seek the Excalibur swords, and then destroy them. Both have their own Excalibur swords, with Xenovia's being the holy sword of Destruction, and Irina having the holy sword of Mimic. Irina was Issei's friend growing up, however she moved a long time ago. In fact, Issei thought she was a boy.

Both of them are interesting characters to add, as they each have different personalities. Xenovia is calm and collective, while Irina is happy-go-lucky and cheerful. Xenovia isn't a big fan of working together with Irina, but they have to because of their mission. Although, you can hint some friendship form between the girls. In face, when Xenovia becomes a devil after hearing the truth about God in this series (we'll get to it), she hides the real reason why she leaves the Church from Irina in order to protect her. 

Genshiro plays a little role in the first arc as well, along with some development in his character. You may remember him from Episode 7 of the show's first season, and how he and Issei kind of hate each other since Genshiro took a slight interest in Asia. He helps out a little bit during the first battle between Freed and later Valper (BLECH. More on him later too), and we find out that he has a Sacred Gear. Genpou's Sacred Gear is Absorption Line, which can be used to fire a rope on someone, and stick. Well, until it's cut down.

We also have another introduction to a new character named Aika Kiriyu. What sets her apart from these characters though is that she's just dropped into the series, and you have to pretend that you already know her. This is a shame, though I do like her humor.

#3: Jaime Marchi's script

Because in the anime world, her comedy scripts are genius! And Rias saying girl and mentioning selfies in two different lines in Episodes 5 and 6. I can't wait to see more from her.

And that's pretty much all I liked. Now onto the things I disliked.

#1: The extra 3 minutes added onto the episodes

I watched this show in English, and considering FUNimation graced us with the extra 3 minutes the DVD release adds per episode, it was mainly in the form of fanservice, minus Episodes 5 and 6; scratch that, just 6.

The majority of these are unnecessary, and one is downright stupid. Episode 3's at least had some comedy, but then again, there's too much directed toward fanservice.

And you thought that was bad, Episode 2 has one of the most horrifying fanservice shots I've ever seen. In this added footage, Rias and Sona talk about their childhood growing up as friends, and about her house's sauna, with Akeno making some remarks. One of the shots includes a close up of one of Rias's boobs, nipple pirky (but then again, when are they not?) and a sweat drop sliding down her boob elegantly.

A fanservice junkie's reaction would be:


Mine was:



C'mon TNK, this is just so nasty. Arms isn't any better, BUT STILL! You had better fanservice shots in Season 1, and not including Asia. 

Yeah, Asia is 12 years old still applies here. SERIOUSLY CREATORS, THIS DOESN'T TURN ME ON! STOP IT!

There are more WTF instances of fanservice in this season as well. Bu there's too many of them. Maybe it's time I focus on series with more man candy, because that's more enjoyable than some of these ever could be.

There's also more fanservice end cards if you're into those. AKA, not for me.

#2: Character development

There is pretty much none, minus Kiba and Akeno. Akeno will get her share in the next half, as she is the daughter of a fallen angel, but I could care less.

Same goes with Kiba. You may remember him as the dubbed Mr. Irrelevant from season 1. All he's really there for is to add another main male character just to distance it from the other girl characters. You could pretty much just scrap him from the show, and not lose much.

While his backstory is at least somewhat interesting, I was just this most of the time:



Asia gets nearly screwed over in season 2. Besides being the same girl that she was in season 1, she is given many jealous tendencies now that Rias is living in Issei's house. She often argues with Rias to see who gets to sleep with him, and other stuff that nobody gives a complete s**t about. It's so ridiculous, that it becomes sad really.

It's like Asia doesn't think being in line with Rias isn't good enough. And she's not accepting third place either:


I'll talk about the side plot later, considering how shallow and obnoxious it is.

Koneko will get development in season 3, Issei is still Issei, and Rias is still Rias. AKA She's the flawless queen. OH GOSH MAKE IT END ALREADY! GET HER SOME DEVELOPMENT PLEASE!

 #3: Weaker English dub this time around, plus stupid script lines

I've been watching the past two seasons in the show's English dub, And while the first season has a great English dub, the second season isn't as good. Some of the actors do better or are up to par with their performances in season 1, while others do worse, or they have moments where they have awkward line delivery.

For new arrivals, the only people that do things for me are Kristi Kang and Alexia Sabenbeard (presumably Kara Edwards). Ramona Newel (presumably Lauren Landa) does fine as Xenovia, but it lacks a spark for me to really get into it. Charles Clegg (presumably Mike McFarland) does okay as Kokabiel, but it's too generic. I can't really judge Austin Tindle as Vali yet, but I know I'll like his voice for sure.

Kenny Green's performance as Valper Galilei on the other hand, sounds half-assed (no pun intended).  I didn't really feel any drive from him, and his reaction after Kiba's deus ex machina in the final battle made me cringe. I'm sure he does better in other stuff though.

Now, onto two examples of the wonderful redundant script lines:

I'll start off with the less irritating one from Episode 4. After Freed gets his leg caught in Genshiro's rope from his Sacred Gear, Valper insturcts Freed to put energy into the sword in order to break out of it. Whilst doing this, Issei shouts, "Guys, this is bad."

Ummmm, no s**t Sherlock. And Genshiro, take his advice. It's going to be too late when Freed cuts the rope, and you fall to the ground with an awkward groan.

And Epsiode 3. Oh yeah, this one pissed me off so bad. After the mock battle with Irina and Xenovia, Rias asks Kiba not to leave her. You don't assume that he's a stray devil, until Xenovia reveals it later on in the episode. Good job script writers at being very ambiguous. At least fan-subs gave me a better idea. When Kiba leaves the room, Asia says "He left."

He left? HE LEFT?!


Just, WHY? At least Asia says his name in Japanese, but C'MON!

Okay, now let's go into the things that really sealed the deal for me:

#1: The side story

Though this was more of an issue, the actual story wasn't as interesting as season 1's first arc. But combine the two (the side plot revealed in a couple more paragraphs), and it isn't pretty. It's never good to be like this during an anime:


After Episode 5:


And after Episode 6 was all said and done:


But now onto the main problem of the plot, and the fact that the side story just LOVES to focus on the harem aspect. The majority of the girls are just SOOOOOOOOOO desperate for Issei to bed them.

Akeno starts developing feelings for Issei, of course. But we start seeing these in Episode 1, when Issei's right hand starts to get sore since he gave up his right hand to the Red Dragon Emperor. It is revealed out of nowhere that Akeno is able to help get Issei's hand back to normal by sucking on one of his fingers. So legit, this is not used as a symbolism of sex at all.


You know what? OF COURSE IT IS! No wonder Issei was finding it SOOOOOOO pleasurable. I think he at least achieved orgasm once or twice.

Also, there's a new formed rivalry between Rias and Asia, which is just beyond stupid. In the added scene, they argue like spoiled toddlers on who gets to sleep with Issei (and not sleep sleep with him mind you). I first saw this scene before I watched the second season, and when I actually watched the first episode, I skipped it entirely. It's also not really funny because in this moment, and in a pretend fantasy in Episode 2, the girls are without their bras. Which is a GREAT excuse for more of those ridiculous fanservice moments, and where Asia keeps on being objectified. How lovely.

At least Koneko is more mature than these girls are. Ugh.

#2: Valper Galilei

While Kokabiel is okay, and Freed makes a grand return (and not as entertaining as the first time, minus the boob groping), Valper is perhaps an example of the villains I just LOVE.

He's not the first kind of villains, which are so cliche and stereotypical that it makes me grit my teeth. He's a part of those villains who is just one characteristic, and not much else. He's only introduced as "Oh, he's the creator of the Holy Sword Project. He is evil. GRRRRRRRRR!"

And that's pretty much all to him. It's pretty sad, considering how much potential that he has. Instead, he's just cardboard.


Oh, and I was so happy when he was killed. One less boring villain to deal with.

#3: The absurdity of deus ex machinas in the final battle

As this show was going on a downward spiral, I was expecting the final battle to be a lot better. I mean, the battles with Raynare and Riser were entertaining, despite the fact that some of Issei's upgrades came out of nowhere. I did like some aspects of the battle, like Kokabiel revealing that Akeno was the daughter of a fallen angel. Oh wait, that was the ONLY thing that I liked. My bad.

The battle is just average. It was interesting to see Koneko battle with that three headed creature as well, but fanservice ruins that. And let's not mention the fact that deus ex machinas are EVERYWHERE! Random plot twists, power ups that come out of nowhere, and the fact that SOMEONE ELSE BEAT KOKABIEL, AND OUR HEROES COULDN'T!

Oops, I'm getting a little too ahead of myself. First deus ex machina is....

#1: Kiba attaining his Balance Breaker

Let's be honest here, it was sweet that the souls that the other kids who lost their lives in the Project had faith in Kiba to make it out alive. But that doesn't really explain the fact that these souls in the crystal were ALL of the people with him.. I did like their encouragement and positive words, but how does this gain Kiba power, and obtain his Balance Breaker? It makes no sense.

#2: A reveal about Xenovia's genetics

This is another one of those reveals that comes out of nowhere. So allow me to explain, as they involve other characters. We know that Kiba and the other kids who were in the Holy Sword Project were constantly tested in order to see if they could handle a holy sword's capabilities. Kiba isn't able to touch a holy sword, considering that he's a devil and light in a weapon is poisonous and blahblah. Once again, out of nowhere, it is revealed that Xenovia is actually a natural Holy Sword user. What that means is her genetics are already able to wield a holy sword, since Kiba's and Irina's genes had to be implanted.

On that note, she also has another sword too! And it's like REALLY powerful! And, wait, what?!

So as you can see, this is kind of confusing. All I knew from watching the English dub of this show, I was able to interpret that she could wield another sword, as if one wasn't enough. I didn't know she was a "natural holy sword user" or whatever until I looked it up for more clarification. And then it just confuses me more. I missed it when first watching this show because I was too tired to care about it anymore, However, after rewatching it again, it still confuses me as to why she had the genes. Will the anime possibly explain this? Probably not. Because, you know, boobs.

#3: Kokabiel's telling of the Last Great War

Now I get why Theron Martin was saying when it wasn't the best show with someone with high Christian beliefs. Being a Christian myself, I didn't find the first season all that offensive, as the majority of the religious material managed to be at a low. There was still mentions of God, devils, and some of that other stuff. I didn't think it was that bad.

Imagine my surprise when it's thrown everywhere in the second season. Kiba mentioning how the kids thought they were doing the Project for God, how Freed constantly gets disgusted when the word God is tossed in his face, mentions of the Church over and over again, and the fact that God is dead in this world. It's everywhere!

Oh, and the whole "God is dead" part of Kokabiel's exclamation, yeah:


ARE YOU SERIOUS?????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This pissed me off to no end in all the things that can be considered offensive. I don't mind about language in books, I don't mind language in music as long as it isn't rap, and I really don't mind hearing swear words in public, as long as it isn't n***a. But this, oh boy, this is WAY worse.

#4: Kokabiel being defeated by someone else entirely

Oh geez, forget what I said about my last dislike of the final battle. THIS is the worst part of the final battle. In fact, this tops other battle ends that I've heard about in other anime. Either cause by deus ex machinas, or getting a random power-up through nakama. (COUGHFairyTailCOUGH)

So, after the Club continues to fight Kokabiel, and their attacks of course don't work, since Kokabiel is overpowered and all, something happens. The barrier that the student council makes suddenly is destroyed. And SURPRISE SURPRISE! Vali shows up OUT OF NOWHERE! And it's also revealed that he has powers of the White Dragon, which makes him and Issei rivals.

Oh, and props to FUNimation for giving the exact same effects to Mark Fickert as Christopher Sabat so they sound EXACTLY the same. I still think it'd have been better if they had a little difference.

And how is the mighty powerful fallen angel defeated? With a punch to the face. So, that's right. A powerful fallen angel, who was able to dodge the entire Club's attacks plus Xenovia's, was beaten by Vali with just ONE PUNCH! Fairy Tail's recent filler arc has this ridiculous thing too. Is it because that this new person that randomly pops in, or our main lead just becomes SO powerful with some magic and s**t? I don't think so.

So yeah, this enraged me. But not as well as what happened next.

Issei gets all pissy at Vali because he was wanting to have some special time with Rias. Rias promised Issei that he could do whatever he wanted to her body if he defeated Kokabiel. Now that Vali did it for him, he's now ticked because he won't be able to suck Rias's nipples.

Oh wow..................................JUST WHY?! ISSEI, BE MAD AT VALI BECAUSE HE DEFEATED KOKABIEL SOMEHOW WITH JUST HIS FIST! DON'T BE THROWING A FIT JUST BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO HAVE SEX WITH RIAS! JUST GEEZ!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah, this was when I realized that me and Highschool DXD were no longer friends.

Basically, the ending for this arc felt like:


I'm really sad about leaving this series though, because hearing about Gasper does have some cuteness levels, even though he dresses like a girl. Will he possibly be used for fanservice reasons, even though he's 10 years old? Probably.

If you want to watch this series, I recommend just watching the first season and nothing else. It's disappointing seeing that a lot of the reviews for this show online say that the second season is MUCH better than the first, when in my opinion it's not. There's little to no character development, the story is pretty weak, the childish arguments between the 2 female leads (plus Akeno in some ways) make me want to pull my hair out, and the final battle is filled to the brim with plot twists that are just there to move the plot along.

I'll admit, there are series that I've seen recently that are worse (Testament of Sister New Devil, Sengoku Musou, Absolute Duo), but beyond that, Highschool DXD New doesn't have a lot going for it.

Alright Toshiro, I need your help with something:


Summon Hyorinmaru so we can freeze this bitch.


Would you guys like to see more of these incomplete reviews? Let me know what you think.


Score: 4.5/10

Positives:

Better animation.

Irina and Xenovia.

The English dub's script.

Negatives:

Aika gets sloppily dumped into show.

English dub is not as strong as season 1.

No character development.

Kiba's run as Mr. Irrelevant.

Extra fanservice moments are unneeded.

Side plot focuses too much on the "Which girl gets Issei into the sack first?"

Valper Galilei as a whole.

Deus ex machina central in the final battle.







Saturday, February 21, 2015

Unbreakable Machine Doll Review


Unbreakable Machine Doll Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Historical fiction anime. Anime that travels to times of the past, yet decides to add in their own spin to things to make them more interesting. Black Butler took us to late 19th century England, where demons and grim reapers exist. Spice & Wolf transported us to the past, where business is key. I still need to finish this series, along with re-watching it, but it's interesting so far.

Then there is the ancient period of Japan. Home to great warriors, and historical retellings. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna had an average high school boy finding himself in this era, luckily with a lot of knowledge about what can happen next, and to help out with hard decisions. Sengoku Basara and Sengoku Musou give different imaginings to famous warriors. While Sengoku Musou was a confusing mess that didn't specify some things, and dumped too many characters on you at once, Sengoku Basara still needs to be explored. But who knows, that just may be my excuse for more Romi Park. :3

And then we have Unbreakable Machine Doll. Another series that takes place in England, but in the 1900's. If you look up this series, you'll notice a lot of fanservice, especially in official art. You'll also notice this series seeming to be another stereotypical harem.

I wouldn't say it's stereotypical, nor would I actually define it as a harem. This show is more of a fantasy/action series than an actual harem, though it does have its funny bits.

This show happened to really impress me. Not only did it have a unique story, non-cliched characters, and some really good animation to boot, it also managed to impress in some ways that other shows fail at doing. It's an anime that will stick with me, which is pretty much the majority of the anime that I've seen.

But of course, the show is not complete without its problems. Mainly to do with the show's last story arc, some of its characters not being fleshed out enough, and some comedy that is a tad bit repetitive. This is still a great series overall though.

Let's first go over the story:

Story

The story is based off of the series' first 3 light novels. The light novels are still being published today, and as of this review, 14 have been published in Japan. 

Our exposition of the story begins when the puppeteer Raishin Akabane arrives in Liverpool to study at the Walpurgis Royal Academy of Machinart with his automaton Yaya. In this alternate version of the early 20th century, scientists have developed a mixture of both technology and sorcery known as Machinart, which are circuits made from spells that can be put into various objects to bring them to life. They also are able to give these beings artificial intelligence, and these are known as automatons. They were developed as military weapons, and have been spread across the world, with puppeteers being the ones to control them.

From Japan, Raishin wishes to become Wiseman, which is the most powerful puppeteer at the school. However, his actual goal is to take down his older brother Tenzen Akabane, also know as Magnus, and the current Wiseman himself, for the deaths of his family.

Along the way, he encounters several mysteries he must solve, and new friends or foes. first, I'm going to give a breakdown on the show's 3 arcs.

The first arc is Facing Cannibal Candy. The arc with Raishin arriving at the Academy, and receiving the rank of Second Last. He tries to duel with Charlotte for her rank, but fails to do so because of background students.

For the explanation of ranks, the Academy hold a competition known as the Night Party. Every 4 years, the top 100 ranked puppeteers compete in hope to become the Wiseman.

A couple days later, Felix Kingsfort, the head of the Disciplinary Committee, approaches Raishin about helping him solve a case, This case revolves around the automaton known as Cannibal Candy, who has destroyed automatons by ripping their main circuits out, and for the disappearance of 26 students. Felix will allow Raishin to participate in the Night Party if he is able to solve the case, and Raishin accepts.

This arc is a great start to the show. Not only does it leave you on your heels, but the culprit comes out of left field. I don't know if a lot of people found it predictable, but I sure didn't. You are so convinced that it's someone else, and when it's revealed that it's not, you are just blown away.

The second arc is Facing Sword Angel. After Raishin meets a girl named Frey after several failed assassination attempts, he is drawn to a mystery regarding the company D-Works, where she is the daughter of the company's president. Raishin later gets into a rivalry with her brother Loki, and secrets are later revealed about D-Works, and it involves something with "Promised Children."

This arc is a fantastic follow-up to the first, and is on equal terms with it as well. Not only did these 4 episodes kept me on my seat, cliffhangers are once again used effectively, and the secrets and reveals are very interesting.

The last arc in this series is Facing Elf Speeder. And this is where the show starts to take a turn, making this the worst arc. And that's sad, considering it ends the show on a somewhat sour note.

Charlotte aligns herself with Cedric Granville to try and kill the school's headmaster. for what exactly? Ummm............ it's not really properly explained. We do have Charlotte's younger sister Henriette coming to the academy, having to hurt Charlotte. But besides trying to protect her sister, it's NEVER explained why Charlotte teams up with Cedric, as his goal is to restore a family's glory that had fallen.

There's a reveal on who Cedric actually is, but that's actually something that's also done poorly, although it is interesting. Just expect this arc to have boring one-dimensional villains, with a machine doll that is just SO over-powered for the holy terms of deus ex machina.

I must admit though, this arc has my favorite funny moment.



Now, onto the characters:


Characters

This time around, I have more characters to talk about. YAY!

Let's start off with our main protagonist, Raishin:



Based on first appearance, Raishin looks like every single main male character that you've seen in anime everywhere. However, he actually is not, as he isn't a idiot, and isn't tempted to do anything with the girls around him. He is the culprit of misunderstandings though.

Raishin comes from Japan, and was shunned by his family in his past due to not having abilities to become a puppeteer. Well, look at him now! XD Thank you Shoko!

Normally, he is outgoing, and very good-natured. But when his older brother killed his family, he went into desperation. Now, he can be a mix of both, though mainly he is good-natured.

Despite his appearance and his rank, he is actually quite smart, and doesn't come across as a complete idiot when conversing with other characters. Unlike, let's see, Date A Live, Trinity Seven, Absolute Duo, and others like it. Stupid main male character archetypes.

Sometimes, his decisions are questioned by the characters around him, such as when he goes out for a fight while badly injured. He cares for Yaya so much, he even goes around to saying that she is the best automaton in the world. Though, he gets frustrated whenever she decides to go into horny mode.

I personally really like Raishin. Not only does he break the stereotype of those annoying main male characters, he actually makes good decisions, and isn't afraid to take risks. Not only that, he realizes twists before we even though them, or other characters know them, which is pretty surprising.

Let's move on to Yaya:


Yaya is an automaton assembled from both mechanical and organic part by Shoko Karyusai, and she is also a Banned Doll. Banned Dolls are automatons made from illegal parts, and it mainly has to do with humans.

Yaya is the second oldest in the Setsugetsuka trilogy that Shoko made, which also include Irori and Komurasaki, who make some appearances throughout the series.She is very clingy to Raishin, and freaks out whenever another woman gets close to him. This becomes heavily prominent with misunderstandings.

For example:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq-J1PETqKo

This is a comedy that can get old depending on how many episodes you watch in a row, but it's isn't too bad. It may be a little cliched, but the anime doesn't overuse it.

That pretty much wraps up Yaya's personality. She also has abilities that Raishin can use during battles, yet she has more that haven't been discovered. Episode 12 gave us a little preview, but if this show gets another season, let's see what else she unleashes.

Charlotte's up now:


Charlotte is a second year puppeteer, and her automaton is Sigmund, a dragon. She is otherwise known as Tyrant Rex, and is one of the highest ranked puppeteers at the school, making her a Round. 

She comes from the Belew family, who were formally highly respected in England, and that the Queen bore a unicorn crest to. However, after an incident where an old automaton of hers accidentally hurt a royal boy visiting the family, this caused heavy repercussions, such as Charlotte losing track of all of her family, After she was kicked out of a boarding school in France when she ran out of money, Charlotte found herself at the Royal Academy.

Charotte is somewhat of a tsundere. It seems like she cares more for Raishin then she lets on, but she won't admit it. She doesn't become friends or allies with each other right away, but after getting saved by Raishin in the first arc, she accepts his friendship.

Overall, I found Charlotte to be a very likable character. At first, she seems like one that's too overly stereotypical, But over time, you do grow to like her. Though her reasoning in the last arc is not developed, or ever told to us, I admire that she wanted to protect her sister. At some times, I wonder if she was going too over her head, but she later decides to leave the family's alliance, and I'm like "WOOHOO! YOU GO CHARLOTTE!"

Last but not least, Frey and Loki:


Frey and Loki are both siblings that were genetically changed when a special magic circuit was placed inside them. These magic circuits have the power to draw out mana from the host, which can actually be very dangerous, as shown in Episode 7. This mana goes straight to the automatons.

Frey is a third year, while Loki is a second year. And yes, that is a little weird, considering how Loki is worried about her safety, as well as her fighting ability.

Frey first appears while trying to kill Raishin.  However, she fails at doing so. This is because she gets caught while doing so, or because she gets caught in her own traps.


Her automaton is a dog named Rabbi, however she earns more after the second arc. This is because there's also information about these automaton dogs being banned, but you'll have to watch the show for yourself to find out what this information is. She eventually earns feelings for Raishin, but they aren't displayed too much for the world to see.

Loki's automaton is Cherubim, and he has a more high placed attitude due to his ranking. which is demoted because he wishes to defeat Raishin himself. To say that he and Raishin get along is an understatement. They HATE each other, so much to the point where it becomes comical. I don't think I've seen a rivalry that's made me laugh this hard since Kamisama Kiss with Mizuki and Tomoe, which makes it ever more ironic considering the seiyuu who voices Loki is also Mizuki.

He has a very high grade average, and is one of the rounds at the school. He also has a signature catchphrase, which goes like, "I'm a humble and tolerant person. However, the are three things I can not stand. Someone who gives me orders, someone who defies me, and.." The third one is always different each time, and when it involves FUNimation's subtitles to put in a swear word, I can't help but giggle.

An example:


I really liked Loki and Frey because they were the most developed characters of the show. We got a lot of information about D-Works and Promised Children. and it wasn't senseless info dumping! YAY!

Other characters include a professor at the academy, the famous puppet maker herself, the eldest of the trio and Shoko's personal assistant, the youngest of said trio, Charlotte's younger sister, generic villains #1 and #2, the great Magnus, the doctor of the academy, one of Magus' automatons that might be made of part from Raishin's younger sister, Felix, the head of D-Works, the headmaster, and Felix's assistant at the Disciplinary Committee.

Animation

The animation for this series was done by the studio Lerche, who are also known for series such as Danganronpa: The Animation, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, and Assassination Classroom.

Overall, the animation is actually quite good for this series. Lerche manages to use some CGI for the series, which looks pretty smooth as well. They also have a very clever way of hiding fanservice.

Not to say that the show has a lot of fanservice, which it doesn't really. But Lerche does something clever, and when you compare the series when it aired to the DVD version, or in the English dub, you'll notice the differences. They move hand placements and add more detail in the ending, and also moves Yaya's hair so her goods are shown for those drooling males. And by goods, I mean her boobs.

So all in all, not a lot of complaints again.

Sound

The score for this series was composed by Masaru Yokoyama, who has also done scores for the Freezing and Queens Blade franchises, and Madan no Ou to Vanadis.

The OST for this anime was more memorable that Masaru's work on Madan no Ou to Vanadis, There are a couple of tracks that managed to incorporats a good sense of drama, such as Bravery Steps. This track is beautiful, and builds up with piano and violin, which makes for a track that is great music that allows you to root for our main characters during battle scenes. But there's also a certain charm to this score. A lot of piano, and orchestral instruments are used, which gives it a older feel.

Both opening and ending are amazing, and will get stuck in your head. Especially the "Maware x10" in the ending.

As of this review, the US release of Unbreakable Machine Doll is just about to come out into the big bad world. The original Japanese for this show is actually pretty good, with a mix of seiyuus you've seen a lot of, and some not so much. It's a great mix, and some of the seiyuus give their best performances in my opinion.

I've also managed to watch some of the English dub, and it's pretty good. While it is better than some shows FUNimation has recently put out (Highschool DXD New, recent episodes of Fairy Tail), it isn't toward one of their better dubs either (Jormungand, Kamisama Kiss).

The dub does sound good overall, however it is set back with some of my favorite English dub nitpicks. And by that, I mean awkward line delivery and mispronunciation of names. Like I mentioned in earlier reviews, it can be okay when this happens a bit, and not take the factor away from it overall. Unbreakable Machine Doll doesn't have as many awkward line deliveries like about every single background character in Fairy Tail does these days, but some actors don't do as good as they normally would in other shows.

The name mispronunciation problems are Raishin, Cherubim, and Nadeshiko. Raishin isn't too bad, but the other two. *shudders*

Highlights in the original Japanese include Hiro Shimono, Hitomi Harada, Megumi Takamoto, Joji Nakata, Kana Asumi, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Shizuka Ito, Yukana, Ai Kayano, Asuka Nishi, Yuki Ono, Junichi Suwabe, Kana Hanazawa, Yuki Kaji, and Mamiko Noto,

Highlights so far in the show's English dub are Bryn Apprill, Kristin Sutton (this series marks her first main role too), David Wald, Chris Burnett, Alexis Tipton, Lara Woodhull, Monica Rial, Carli Mosier, Ricco Fajardo, Christopher Bevins, Tia Ballard, Ian Sinclair, and Jad Saxton.

Verdict

Despite having the majority of its problems in the last story arc, I really liked Unbreakable Machine Doll as a whole. It's a very quirky anime, and it's something different that what people should expect, since it's not fully a harem.

I recommend this series for lovers of historical fantasy, anyone interested in the show's visuals, who want something unique and satisfying, or if you just happen to find the opening or ending on the internet and love them.

Score: 8.5/10

Positives:

Unique story.

Fun and interesting characters.

Great story arcs.

Good animation.

Nice score.

Negatives:

Last story arc is miles under first 2.

Some side characters aren't explored as much.

Yaya's misunderstandings of Raishin can be a tad tiring.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Trinity Seven Review


Trinity Seven Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

I'm not sure why I like watching harem shows so much. Maybe its just the unique stories that come with it, or the females that have interesting hair colors and personalities. It could also deal with romance, or the animation. Harem shows are just kind of guilty pleasures for me, especially Nyan Koi and Tenchi Universe.

Of course, they need to be balanced on other aspects too. Is the story original? Do the characters act like stereotypes? Is it interesting? Would I recommend it to anyone?

Highschool DXD is a recent example that is a more mature harem. It's original, with some good characters, and an interesting story. Too bad the first half of season 2 did nothing for me. I'll talk about this later in my incomplete review.

I heard about Trinity Seven like I hear most about anime: the internet. This looked like a fun and interesting show, though with an appearance of Stereotypical Main Male Character lord knows what number we're on. I waited until the majority of the episodes were out before I watched it, since I was still watching my main two shows for the season in which I covered in January.

What did I think?

*sighs* Well, it wasn't as bad as other shows I've seen. There is some enjoyment, but this is pretty much a cliched as hell harem to the extreme.

The story feels tacked on, especially in the last half, the characters are pretty much all one-dimensional with no unique traits to them minus the headmaster and Lieselotte. The main character is the same main male character who we all know and love, especially since he's a pervert. Thank you, Highschool DXD.

Though, I do still like the show's animation, score, and voice work (for the most part), I don't really think the show really stood out for me. Yeah, it was enjoyable, but it still wasn't what I was expecting. When I think about it now, I feel like I half deserved to watch this, and half like I wasted my time.

First, we'll start off with the story:


Story

I always have an issue with harem storylines, since the majority of them follow the exact same formula. Here's what I've noticed:

Main male character lives an incredibly normal life.

Main male character is actually a "speshaal shnowflake" with amazing magical abilities.

Main male character gets into a situation in which he is surrounded by hot women.

All of the women fall in love with our protagonist, some for no reason at all.

Main villain is stereotypical, or is poorly developed.

Main characters kick ASS!

The end! ;D

I do think that some of them are at least unique (Nyan Koi!, Unbreakable Machine Doll), and even though some of them are in the norm (Tenchi Muyo, Highschool DXD), they also manage to provide some pretty unique elements that manage to propel it higher than most.

Not only does Trinity Seven manage to check off every single thing I mentioned, it also does a piss poor job at incorporating new elements.

Arata lives a completely normal and boring live with his cousin Hijiri. However, one morning, a Black Sun is noticed in the sky, and a mage appears before Arata. The Black Sun caused a gravitational phenomenon three days ago that pretty much ended the world, but it was recreated due to Hijiri's grimore that she left behind. And also because it was Arata's wish.

We also find out that the Hijiri known wasn't the actual Hijiri. More is explained later on in the series, but like I said, it's horribly constructed. Once finding out from Lilith (the mage who appeared before him) that Hijiri is alive, Arata finds that the only way to save her is to enroll in the Royal Biblia Academy, and meet the Trinity Seven.

So overall, its kind of a weak story to set up with. The first two episodes (and a couple minutes of the third) are focused on meeting 6 out of the Trinity Seven, and then the rest of Episode 3 is YAY BEACH TIME! 

Episodes 4-5 includes rescuing another member's personality, plus meeting the last of the famous seven. Episodes 6-7 are shown trying to defeat the last member, who is captured in her sister Selina's camera, and can come out anytime. The last part is never explained properly, but anyway.

The next few episodes have Mira and Arata (and his now human grimore) traveling to another magic school that was thought to be destroyed. A girl who looks just like Hijiri pops up, and stuff happens that allows Arata to transform into his Demon Lord form.

Oh yeah, did I also forget to mention that Arata is a Demon Lord candidate? Oops, my bad.

Do you kind of see how this story sets itself up?

The last two episodes of the show are not better in the slightest. A light wizard pops out of nowhere, and attacks the school. It is announced that Hijiri is pretty much bad news! YAY! SHE'S EVIL! 

Then, they announce that she's also a Demon Lord candidate, mainly because of her magic. and at this point, I was just about to do this:


But then again, just one more episode left. So that was out. The last episode just is a rushed mini battle, and then OMG DATE TIME!

So as you see, the story in this anime is a complete mess. The elements that it brings to the table are stale, and just don't really feel authentic. The main archetype from all harem stories has no limits in bad anime, and there really isn't any backstory for the Trinity Seven. And although this anime isn't horrible, it's up there with Arcana Famiglia in the worst stories I have seen in anime in the past few years.

Although, there are some nice aspects. I like how the Trinity Seven's archives being the 7 Deadly Sins, the comedy's okay for the most part, and I really liked how some aspects of the story. But that's it, and a couple good elements do not make.

Now onto the characters:

Characters

Majority of the characters in Trinity Seven are either one-dimensional, aren't too interesting, or are just the same tropes that we all can't help but hate, seen over and over in various other series.

There are good characters though, but the bad sadly outnumbers the good.

I'm going to start off with our lead male protagonist, Arata:



You know anime, I get sick after seeing this same character pop up over and over again. The cardboard cutouts who almost have no originality, and feel as if you want to mainly smack them than support them. This is Arata, however he's more like Issei than other generic characters.

Arata is a candidate to be Demon Lord (AKA he's one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Special snowflake alert!) He has the the power to nullify and copy magic thanks to his Superbia archive. He also has the ability to tear off clothing. Like OMG, I so haven't heard this one before. *coughHighschoolDXDcough*

So overall, there's not a lot to say about Arata, like Shido from Date A Live.

Lilith's turn:



Lilith is the first member of the Trinity Seven we meet in the anime, and her powers come from the Luxuria archive. Her main weapon is a gun that comes in two forms: a short pistol that can be used in close contact fights, and a long rifle which is used at long range. 

Though she is the same age as Arata and does wear the uniform of the academy, she actually is a teacher due to her high experience in magic. She becomes one of Arata's friends and allies after she first meets him during the Black Sun phenomenon, Even though she does become a big supporter o him, she is also a common target for his perversion. 

Another interesting fact, she also is the one who says Arata's name the most. "Arata, Arata, Arata, Arata." over and over again, like a broken stopwatch.

Overall, Lilith is okay as a character. While I do think she is super smart, and has some presence into this show beyond being a big fat overused trait, she also doesn't really add a lot of flavor into the anime. Besides being a broken record with the Arata thing, she doesn't really have any development for her personality. I do think she's memorable though.

Now onto Mira:



Mira is the 5th member out of the Trinity Seven to be introduced, and her magic is connected to the Superbia archive, her main thema being Justice. She is the head of the Grimoire Security at the academy, and is mainly a tsundere. At first, she is very cold to Arata and doesn't like being involved with him, however she does eventually warm up to him during the Liber Academy investigation.

Though she doesn't really have a lot of building blocks to her, I still do like Mira. Even though she is a tsundere, she's done better than other tsunderes out of the harem shows I've watched, say like Houki. I find Mira to have a lot of funny moments within the series, and let's admit, she is charming.

Last but not least for the characters I want to talk about, Lieselotte:


Lieselotte is the last member of the Trinity Seven to be introduced, and is the twin sister of Selina. She vanished from the school six months prior to the story, and was last seen in the library. When she first appears in the series, she is an antagonist, as she infiltrated the forbidden library in order to search for magic. Her thema is Stagna, which is apart of the Acedia archive. 

She obtains the power necessary to become a demon lord candidate after sucking out magic from her sister's body. She is defeated in Episode 7, where it is revealed that she can't go back to the school because she has committed too many crimes. She is currently now sealed in Selina's camera, and can switch into her body at random times. This is only shown in Episode 11, and it's very confusing.

My personal favorite out of the Trinity Seven is obviously Lieselotte. It mainly has to do with her personality, and how this is a role different for Nao Toyama. I kind of find her interesting in a way that makes her more enjoyable, and I liked it when she appeared on screen.

Other members of the Trinity Seven include a member who automatically calls Arata her husband, looks like Hijiri, and whose personality is as interesting as watching paint dry, a ninja who suffers from the same problems, Mira's partner who is one of the only members of the Trinity Seven I cared about, and a girl with two personalities, one being the big busty lolli type, and another being a soft, angelic girl.

Other characters include Arata's grimoire, the headmaster of the academy, another grimoire that Arata saves after the whole lost academy fiasco, the head of Liber Academy who only appears for one episode and is inconvenient, a light wizard who is just your stereotypical "I must keep fighting, and it is my duty too." girl, and Arata's cousin.

Animation

The animation was done by the studio Seven Arcs, most known for doing the animation for the Dog Days franchise, Sekirei, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

In comparison to Sekirei, this anime looks WAY better in terms of how polished it is, and how the model consistences work. The school's ceilings and floors look incredible, and the characters don't suffer from too many model inconsistencies. Because does anyone remember Musubi from Episode 11? *shudders*

Overall, I don't have much to complain about. To note though, there is censoring as well when the girls get their clothes ripped off, but it's not as bad as other light beams that are in other shows.

Sound

The score for this series was composed by the group TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND, also known for the score of the anime Witch Craft Works.

This OST is pretty epic, mind you. There's a lot of electronically based pieces, which not only manage to produce a unique edge to this show, they also manage to kick some butt. My favorite track would have to be MAGUS MODE, as it incorporates a unique melody, and chipped vocals. I find it fun whenever the characters talk over it.

Opening and ending wise, the show manages to supply a pretty kick-ass opening, and first ending. The other endings aren't that memorable, but they're still okay.

Vocal performance wise, not a lot of stand-outs here this time. I mean, yeah, a lot of them are good, but there just isn't a lot that stick with you, or aren't memorable. Especially our two leads, as their voices are annoying as hell.

Highlights include Yoko Hikasa, Ryoka Yuzuki, Nao Toyama, Rie Kugimiya, Aya Suzaki, and Shin-ichiro Miki (better known as Kisuke).

Verdict

Before I watched this show, I didn't really know what it was going to end up like. Unfortunately, it's one of those shows that if it ever gets released here in the US, I will not be scouting it for my anime collection (which is relatively small at this point, but hopefully it grows more soon.)

There are just too many problems regarding this series, mainly to do with its story and characters. and while some moments of the show are enjoyable, bad sadly has to outweigh the good in this case.

I wouldn't recommend this show out of regards that it's bound to get you frustrated, and annoy you in some way. However, if you do want a sci-fi based harem, this may be the way to go.

Also, if you want another one of these:



Score: 6.5/10

Positives:

Unique elements in story regarding Thema and magic.

A couple of interesting characters.

Great animation.

Fantastic score.

Negatives:

Majority of the story elements are either highly overused, or not executed properly.

Most characters are either boring, or not memorable.

Special Snowflake alert!

Voice work average for the most, minus leads and others.

Enjoyment very minimal.

Frustrating in later episodes.





Saturday, February 7, 2015

Inu X Boku SS Review


Inu X Boku SS Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

This anime is one of those where I had a fairly good idea what I'm about to get into. I've seen it around on Youtube, searched it up a few times, and even had a good friend talk about how this show was REALLY good, and that I would like it.

This show seemed to be one that would appeal to me. The animation looks really good, the characters sound funny and interesting, plus the story. Who wouldn't want a hot bodyguard if you're a teenage girl? That's like somewhat EVERY paranormal YA book ever. Just kidding.

After delaying on this show for the past few years, I received an inter-library loan of this from the same friend who recommended it to me, deciding that now was the perfect time to watch this show, I gave it a chance.

And boy, I didn't regret it. This show is SUPER CUTE!

All of the main characters each have something special, each episode had a lot of funny moments, and this was so enjoyable to relax with before I go to sleep.

Though, the story isn't as good as other shows in this particular genre, I still found a lot to like about it, and I know that it's just getting started.

Because after this, a interesting storyline in the manga begins. Second season perhaps?

Let me tell you about the story:
Story

Ayakashikan looks like an ordinary boarding house on the outside, but if you look more closely, you'll notice some thing fairly odd. The residents who all live in this high security building are descendants of demons, and they are each guarded by there own Secret Service bodyguard. Some are nearly similar in personality, but others are polar opposites.

Ririchiyo Shirakin, a half-human and half-oni from the Shirakin family, moves to the Ayakashikan for some peace and quiet. But she doesn't expect to meet her Secret Service agent, Soshi Miketsukami. Soshi is incredibly devoted to Ririchiyo, and claims to have known her his entire life.

Oh, isn't that love- Wait, WHAT?!



Don't worry about this though. It gets explained later on.

Ririchiyo is at first hesitant to accept Soshi because she feels as if she's not worth protecting. You known due to the fact that she comes from a rich family, and is bullied due to her status and her personality. During a break-in at the Ayakashikan, we find out that all of the Ayakashikan members (not Ririchiyo until later) can transform into spirits of their monster elements. Such as a Yuki-onna, or a Gashadokuro. At the end of the first episode, Ririchiyo agrees to let Soshi become her bodyguard.

Along the way, character development, a "fiance" appears from Ririchiyo's past, the feelings between out two mains start to spread, and so does the slice-of-life comedic elements.

Wait, SLICE-OF-LIFE?

For people looking for a more story-balanced show, you're going to be disappointed. This show has a ton of random episodes. All of them actually have great comedy and are enjoyable to watch, although some may find them tedious since there's not enough story, and just mainly comedy. At least there is some story mixed in with these episodes, which is always a plus. Not counting the OVA of course.

My main problem is the slice of life aspects thrown in, but they do provide great comedy. As well as the characters, but more on that later.

There's also this plot twist that is super predictable. When they were young, it is confirmed that Ririchiyo and her "fiancee" Kagero exchanged letters back and forth. However, as Soshi was Kagero's bodyguard back in the day during his past, he was asked to write the letters to her since Kagero isn't the world's best hand writer. The good news is that this explains the whole "I've known you my whole life" that Soshi was telling Ririchiyo. However, the bad side of things was that I guessed this twist after my friend told me that Kagero actually didn't write the letters.

Well then, who's the first person you think of?

Soshi, of course.

Yeah, that kind of bugs me. But beyond that, it's still a great story. It has mysterious intrigue, and the show can balance comedy and some back-stories well.


Speaking of backstories, let's meet some of the characters:

Characters

For the characters today, I can't forget to talk about our two main leads. Since I really like both of them, and they make the show complete the way it is. I will also talk about two other characters, one male and one female, that had a lot of impact in the comedy, and that I couldn't help but love.

Let's start off with Ririchiyo:



Ririchiyo is a half human, half oni, 15 year old girl who moved to the Ayakashikan to be alone. She lives in Room 4. The reason why she yearns to be independent and worries about not being able to communicate to people probably. This is due to the fact that she was bullied at a young age, and that she is very cold when interacting with people, complete with a scoff before she starts majority of her sentences. So basically, she's a tsun-tsun.

When she meets Soshi, things start to change. She first is put off by his willingness to her, but finds in time that she is falling in love. She gets weird feelings, blushes a bit, and even has irregular heartbeats. OH MY GOD! IT'S LOVE! This is helped even more once she finds out that Soshi was the person who sent and wrote the letters under Kagero's name. At the end of Episode 12, she confesses her love to him in a park, and that first kiss. SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!! AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anyways, Ririchiyo is a great character. She has a lot of moments where she denies doing some things in the past, dismissing them as "practicing her handwriting" or "getting an allergic reaction." Her feelings to Soshi aren't insta-love (THANK GOD!), and it's really relatable. Someone who shuts herself in all her life, and doesn't really have many friends. She's a great main character, and sometimes I wish I could see more of these characters in other series.

Next is Soshi:


Soshi is Ririchiyo's Secret Service agent, and is 22 years old. But before some people freak out due to the age difference, keep in mind its not as outrageous as other things we've heard about. Plus, it's the same in Vampire Academy with Rose and Dimitri, with 7 years between them.

He is a descendant of the evil nine-tailed fox, which was Soshi's past life. His family kept him under house arrest when he was young. Their main concern was of his power, although Soshi was able to manipulate and seduce several women in order to gain his own freedom. Due to this, he had no traits for his own personality. After he was taken by by Kagero's mother, and made him her son's personal assistant, it all changed for him. It mainly has to due with the letters he wrote Ririchiyo.

And then fangirls, you know what to do:



Soshi is often very calm, polite, and doesn't seem to have a darker side to his personality, which he can show in small doses. He is gentle towards the people around him, but his main devotion is Ririchiyo. He blindly obeys her, as well as protects her, and you see why he is a very great love interest. *sighs*

He also has heterochromia in case anyone noticed. I can never spell that word right in my journal, at least for one of my made up characters. Spell check FTW!

*coughs* Back to the review.

I really liked Soshi. At times, he seemed to be a bit underdeveloped, and I would have liked to see a bit of his darker side more. And not the seducing stuff, mind you, from his past. At the end of Episode 4, he just says something a bit weird to himself that doesn't really get explained. I do like how he tries to be nice to everyone, as its awfully hard to do that sometimes. Mainly if you're in a bad mood.

When we find out his backstory, Soshi tells Ririchiyo that he wasn't honest with her about a lot of things. We, as the audience, get to see his past, but we find out the only real thing he lied about was the letters. Which is a bit disappointing, but hey, at least it wasn't as much as what he lead on. UP TOP!



Nobara's turn:



Nobara is a descendant of an Yuki-onna, a spirit related to ice and snow. She is very interested in both the topics of fashion and cute girls, and often sexually fantasizes about the latter. And she even comes equipped with a signature catchphrase. 

MANIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACC!

Saying it exactly the way she does. *snorts*

She is the oldest female out of the bunch, and often acts as a motherly figure to both Ririchiyo and Soshi. As Rensho's Sercret Service agent, she doesn't really like him that much. Does she show kindness to him? A little, but not that much.

Nobara's memorable mainly for the show's comedy. It's sad that she doesn't get enough development, but still: MANIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACC!

Zange is last:



Zange is 22 years old, and is the Secret Service agent of Watanuki. He is also my favorite character from the anime, mainly because of his personality. 

Zange is a half-human, half-demon that constantly wears a pair of black bunny ears on his head that react to his emotions, well at least in the OVA. His ancestor is a Hyakume, or known as the 100 eye monster that can see the past, and the future. Pretty much through-out the entire series, he is shown to be very cheerful 24 hours, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. He is very found of Soshi, and gives him the nickname Sou-tan. He hopes that everyone can get along, and is friends with almost everyone at the Ayakashikan, though he be a busybody at certain times.

I think you can see why I love Zange so much. He just reminds me of Grell to a extent that just makes me swoon. I do like how he has more to him rather than being mostly cheerful, but I find his happy carefree personality just fine enough for me.

Other characters include Ririchiyo's childhood friend, Ririchiyo's groom to be, a Gashadokuro who loves food, a tanuki demon who claims to be a delinquent multiple times but doesn't prove it, a bartender, his son, and three various maids with different personalities. One can change her size, another's a cross-dresser, and another looks as if his facial features were drawn on with marker.


Animation

The animation for this series was done by David Production, most known for Ben-To, Hyperdemension Neptunia: The Animation, and the reboot of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

Overall, the animation for this series is pretty solid. I wouldn't call it stunning, but it does have its moments where it shines. Mainly to do with the creative backgrounds in the show's opening. I'm sorry, but these are stunning. Take a look: 



These are all very cool, and they caught my eye right when they appeared.

So overall, it's not amazing animation, but it still is good. Minus a few off-models.

Sound

The score for this series was composed by Kotaro Nakagawa, most known for his flawless pieces on Code Geass, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Devil Survivor 2: The Animation.

Kotaro Nakagawa once again brings a memorable score into the mix, though its not as memorable as Code Geass. There is some great soft piano pieces, along with some funky stuff. It's not all orchestral, but it still leaves a great impact, especially the fading music gag.

Overall, the original Japanese is very good for this show. A lot of the voice actors do well for their roles, and Mamoru Miyano (voice of Zange) made me swoon. I haven't watched a lot from the English dub, but the voices sound good too. Even if Shelley Callene-Black is typecast for the millionth time, but I can't complain because of that. My friend pretty much hates the dub, and says that there are some really bad mouth flaps, such as lines not fitting them, but I should see for myself first.

Highlights in the original Japanese are Rina Hidaka, Yuichi Nakamura, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yoko Hikasa, Kana Hanazawa, Takuya Eguchi, Mamoru Miyano, Emi Shinohara, and Minami Tsunda.

Verdict

At first glance, this show may seem to not have a lot of substance. But with each passing episode, more interesting characters, and good back-stories that we get to, this show is very special in its own right. Even though the "twist" of the letters is obvious, and some characters aren't focused on as much, the show still manages to impress.

I recommend this show to people who need some swoon, who want a interesting tale, or are just out of options for a good supernatural anime.

Score: 9/10

Positives:

Great set-up.

Interesting characters.

Good animation.

Nice score.

Back-stories are intriguing.

Negatives:

"Twist" in Ririchiyo's back-story is painfully obvious.

Some characters not as equally developed.