Yotsunoha – Review

Title: Yotsunoha
Episodes: 2 (OVA)
Company: Hal Film Maker
Genre(s): Romance, Drama
Air Dates: 29 February 2008 – 28 March 2008

Synopsis: Makoto, Nono, Iori, and Matsuri had been best friends for ten years when it was announced that their school would be shut down and that all of them would have to relocate to new schools. Before the four went their separate ways, they agreed to bury a time capsule with their precious memories under a tree on school grounds and to meet again in three years. Three years have passed and there had been little contact between the four friends, but somehow, all of them found their way back to their old school, only to find that the time capsule was missing. As they set about to find it, the feelings the four had for one another would surface and the time they spent there would allow them to resolve their past issues with one another.

Pros:

  • Decent presentation of the storyline
  • The ending was actually handled well

Cons:

  • Many parts of the plot in which I shook my head in disbelief
  • Characters are cardboard cutout clichés and their motivations doesn’t always make sense
  • Nono’s voice actress got annoying at times
  • [Read more...]

Shigurui – Review

Title: Shigurui
Episodes: 12
Company: Madhouse
Genre(s): Action, Drama
Air Dates: 19 July 2007

Synopsis: In 1633, the Shogun has declared that a combat tournament take place and famous swordsmen from around Japan all travel to the palace to take part. The structure of the tournament is set up so that fights are a duel to the death, which suits the first combatants of the tournament just fine due to their past history with one another. Fujiki Gennosuke had been an assistant swordmaster at the Kogan Ryuu Dojo and the one to succeed as the Headmaster until he was unseated by Irako Seigen, an upstart who successfully bested Fujiki in combat. Fujiki’s dethroning triggers the start of a bitter rivalry which would result in much bloodshed and can only be satisfied by the other’s complete annihilation.

Pros:

  • Excellent animation during the combat sequence
  • Atmosphere is very absorbing
  • Characters are pretty well-developed

Cons:

  • None of the characters are particularly likable
  • Plot’s pace is very slow, moving as quickly as molasses at times
  • Conflict between the two rivals don’t really get resolved
  • [Read more...]

Claymore – Review

Claymore\'s Title Screen

Title: Claymore
Episodes: 26
Company: Madhouse
Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy
Air Dates: 4 Apr 2007 – 26 Sep 2007

Synopsis: In a world filled with demons called Yoma who enjoy feeding on human flesh, the only thing getting between them and their prey are the Claymores. Claymores are a group of elite warrior women who are half-human, half-Yoma, a hybrid result which gives them the strength and speed of a Yoma while retaining the moral judgment of a human. This particular story follows Clare, a Claymore who saves a human named Raki from being attacked by a Yoma. The two eventually pair up to roam the world and follow the missions the mysterious Organization gives to Clare to rid the world of Yoma.

Clare and Raki Clare vs. Yoma Back attack!

Pros:

  • Plenty of plot twists to keep viewers on their toes
  • Dark, gritty visuals complement the plot really well
  • Madhouse’s animation continues to impress during the action scenes
  • Each individual Claymore and their personalities are fleshed out decently

Cons:

  • The last eight episodes are terrible
  • The ending was a downright travesty
  • Raki is among the most pathetic of all the anime male leads I’ve seen
  • [Read more...]

Hayate the Combat Butler (Hayate no Gotoku) – Review

Hayate the Combat Butler

Title: Hayate the Combat Butler (Hayate no Gotoku)
Episodes: 52
Company: SynergySP
Genre(s): Comedy
Air Dates: 1 April 2007 – 30 March 2008

Synopsis: Hayate Ayasaki has the world’s worst luck. Born to unemployed parents who are also reckless gamblers, money was always short in spite of Hayate’s earnest efforts to help keep the family afloat. His efforts remain unappreciated and his debt-ridden parents, in an act of ultimate sacrifice, decide to sell his organs to a group of yakuza to relieve themselves of debt. Desperate and with very few options left, Hayate sees an opportunity in the form Nagi Sanzenin, a very wealthy girl, and decides to kidnap her and hold her for ransom. However he botches the attempt, and crestfallen, he walks off only to see Nagi get kidnapped by another group. To atone for his attempted misdeed, Hayate pursues the kidnappers and succeeds in saving Nagi. As a reward, Hayate gets the honor of becoming Nagi’s newest butler.

Hayate and Nagi Hayate and Maria Hayate and the Katsura Sisters

Pros:

  • The cast is large, but all of the characters are likeable
  • Comedy is handled well and features a lot of fourth-wall destruction

Cons:

  • There are a few stretches where the series slows down significantly
  • Plot and character relationships move as quickly as molasses
  • [Read more...]

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei – Review

Title: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Goodbye Despair Teacher)
Episodes: 12
Company: SHAFT
Genre(s): Comedy
Air Dates: 5 Oct 2007 – 21 Mar 2008

Synopsis: Nozomu Itoshiki is the world’s biggest pessimist and finds fault with practically every major facet of modern Japanese society. This sense of despair brought about by his realization that the world is changing for the worse often leads him to attempt suicide, but for some reason, he fails miserably at it, deepening his depression. So how he gets the job of a teacher is anyone’s guess, but if one thing is for sure, putting him in charge of a classroom of misfits including a girl with a split personality, an eternal optimist, an obsessive compulsive maniac, and a girl who only talks through text messaging is a recipe for a hilarious despair-inducing disaster.

Pros:

  • Comedy is well-executed by treating its subjects irreverently
  • Scenes become even more over-the-top with each episode
  • Brilliant art direction by director Akiyuki Shinbo

Cons:

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