Dream (Level 21)

Macross 7 Ani-Crap Review is finally up: http://www.animevice.com/profile/dream/ani-crap-review-50-macross-7/107-12056/. New Ani-Crap poll will be up in February.
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As you may have discovered from my latest status update, it looks like I came across another title where I felt its infamy was exaggerated upon. In light of this, I will be tweaking my review slightly to offer up my thoughts on the series as a whole instead of doing my typical verbal lashings on it.

Macross 7 was a 49-episode mecha-action TV anime series animated by Ashi Productions and aired from October 16, 1994 to September 24, 1995. The series is a continuation of the popular Macross mecha anime franchise, with this series taking place 35 years after the events of the original 1983 mecha TV anime classic.

The Plot

The Power of Song unleashed on the enemy.
The Power of Song unleashed on the enemy.

The Macross 7 spacecraft leads a colonial fleet on a mission to journey into deep space and would come into conflict with a mysterious alien race called the Protodevlin who have the ability to drain a form of energy called Spiritia from human and Zentradi targets. Aboard Macross 7 is a rock band named Fire Bomber, whose lead guitarist and singer named Basara Nekki will fly into battle with his personal Valkyrie unit to attempt playing his songs to the enemy for seemingly unknown reasons.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Basara Nekki- The lead guitarist and singer of Fire Bomber who has a free-spirited and impulsive personality. Owning a customized VF-19 Valkyrie unit, Basara is known to fly into heated battles between military and Protodevlin forces to attempt singing his songs to the latter.
  • Mylene Flare Jenius- Fire Bomber's 14-year old backup singer and guitarist. She is the seventh daughter of Maximilian Jenius and Milia Fallyna Jenius known to rebel against the wishes of her parents. Due to her parents' heritage, Mylene is part-human and part-Zentradi.
  • Ray Lovelock- A former Valkyrie pilot for the military who would become the keyboardist for Fire Bomber, often being the voice of reason to rein in Basara's impulsive habits.
  • Veffidas Feaze- A Zentradi woman serving as drummer for Fire Bomber and known for rarely talking.
  • Gamlin Kizaki- A military Valkyrie fighter who is appointed as a fiancee for Mylene by Milia. The two strike up a close friendship with one another throughout the show's run and Gamlin is shown to bare hostile feelings toward Basara for his perceived interference with military operations.
  • Maximillian Jenius- One of three characters returning from the original Macross, Max now serves as the leader of Macross 7's military branch known as Battle 7. His relationship with Milia has deteriorated as such where the two are estranged from one another since the start of the series.
  • Milia Fallyna Jenius- The second of three returning Macross characters, Milia now serves as the mayor of the civilian environment for Macross 7 known as City 7.
  • Exsedol Folmo- The third of three returning Macross characters, Exsedol now serves as a record keeper for Battle 7. To prevent his intellect from being reduced during the micloning process to become human sized, Exsedol underwent genetic engineering to increase the size of his brain.

The Review

Macross 7 was one of the first sequels to the Macross franchise made around the same time that Macross Plus came about. This chapter of the franchise focuses on the human and Zentradi members aboard the spacecraft Macross 7 dealing with a new enemy alien threat called the Protodevlin and a guitarist named Basara Nekki cutting in during heated fights in a Valkyrie unit between the forces to try singing to the enemy for seemingly unknown reasons. Continuity wise, the series takes place 35 years after the events of the original Macross series, clearly evident with the appearances of Maximillian and Milia, the first human-Zentradi coupling to come about from the original series.

Sorry, Flower Girl! You can hand out the bouquet in the finale.
Sorry, Flower Girl! You can hand out the bouquet in the finale.

This particular entry in the Macross franchise has a good deal of infamy among its fans as such where many consider it the franchise's black sheep. In part, I can kind of see where these thoughts would come from. The first dozen or so episodes to the series are a bit on the repetitive side as Fire Bomber are doing a performance, Mylene and Basara get in some sort of argument, a Protodevlin attack occurs, Basara flies in on the scene in his Valkyrie to sing to the enemy, the enemy retreats after getting what they need and the cycle repeats. Basara is a bit of a shallow and difficult character to connect with as we have no clue why he is behaving as he does and he doesn't seem to have much dimension to his character either as he mostly comes off as a free-spirited and impulsive pacifist. Even throughout the entirety of the series, Macross 7 offers little exploration to Basara's character and the viewer has no clue what drives him to do what he wants. The majority of the Protodevlin are also rather shallow as villains and the quirks with some of them can border on obnoxious. Plus unlike the original series that had a "real robot" approach to the mecha genre with plenty of drama to milk, Macross 7 crosses into "super robot" territory with its more light-hearted mood and absurd "power of song" plot devices milked to combat alien threats capable of wiping out planets.

The Power of Song can make you a wannabe Super Saiyan.
The Power of Song can make you a wannabe Super Saiyan.

In spite of the mentioned issues though, I would not necessarily consider this the worst offering in the Macross franchise in the same vain as forgettable entries in the franchise like Macross II or compressed film adaptations like Macross: Do You Remember Love? and the two Macross Frontier movies. The supporting cast in the series do rather well for the most part to carry along things in spite of how subpar things are with the series lead and the main conflict of the series. The series offers some nice exploration of Milia and Max's relationship as it has clearly been shown to degrade over the years in spite of the two gaining influential positions on the Macross 7 spacecraft and trying to raise their young teenage daughter, Mylene. Mylene's character also gets a good deal of development in the series as she tries handling the strain in her parents' relationship, comes to grips with the hostilities of war when events in the series escalate and get in an implied love triangle with Basara and Gamlin. The majority of the side characters in the series involve those connected to Fire Bomber's performances or involved with the military yet relevant characters still get enough focus to show there are more to them than a simple archetype.

Even the mindless can be swayed by the Power of Song.
Even the mindless can be swayed by the Power of Song.

The series also subverts some of the typical plot formulas you would expect from a Macross title. Outside of the "super robot" approach being milked, the love triangle dynamic that most titles in the franchise implement has a minimal presence despite the implications played up involving Mylene, Basara and Gamlin. The series is instead more focused on expressing its main themes of understanding and acceptance of others, the implied reasoning behind Basara's refusal to attack enemy forces when he rocks out in front of enemy forces. This message does lead to gradual developments with a number of the characters in the series as they come to understand why Basara had been behaving as he was during early episodes in the series and even leading some among the Protodevlin to switch sides when they come to understand Basara's intentions. As simple as the message may seem, Macross 7 still does well for the most part in expressing it through developments taking place throughout its run.

Sorry Mylene, but you can&squot;t escape the obligatory "boy flipping skirts" cliche.
Sorry Mylene, but you can't escape the obligatory "boy flipping skirts" cliche.

Presentation wise, Macross 7 is a mixed bag. The visuals were obviously done with a cheap budget in mind as scenery shots and character designs are on the plain side and plenty of corners get cut with animation as shortcuts like reused frames and still shots are a regular occurrence here. The soundtrack milked by Fire Bomber is a nice change for the series as unlike the original Macross' use of pop music, this series makes use of rock music. The energetic rock beats are fitting for the light-hearted mood given off by the series and the lyrics accompanying them fit in with the title's theme of understanding and acceptance. Only low point with the soundtrack is that there are points in the series where it gets repetitive as some of the same songs get recycled until new ones are composed for later episodes in the title's run.

Overall, I guess I could say my thoughts of Macross 7 as a whole are somewhat mixed and I think it's infamy among Macross fans may be overblown. While rather generic and repetitive in aspects of its premise and characters, the series still offered up some fresh aspects to the typical Macross plot formula, an engaging supporting cast, an energetic rock soundtrack and a simple yet well executed exploration of its main themes. Your mileage may vary on how you perceive the series with how different it is from other installments in the Macross franchise. But I would advise that one should check out the full series to properly judge it instead of ditching it in early episodes due to their repetitive setup for plot.

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Pupa was a 12-episode TV horror anime series that aired from January 9 to March 28 of this year. The series was animated by Studio Deen and notable for each episode of its run running for only four minutes a piece. Pupa was based on the manga series written by Sayaka Mogi for Comic Earth Star magazine from March 2011 to December 2013.

The Plot

Even cannibalism can't hide the undertones coming from this moment.
Even cannibalism can't hide the undertones coming from this moment.

Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa are siblings who were abused and abandoned by their parents and left to fend for themselves. Both become infected by a mysterious virus called Pupa that mutates those who become exposed to it into monsters. Under the virus' effects, Yume develops an uncontrollable hunger for human flesh and Utsutsu gains the ability to rapidly regenerate himself. Utsutsu finds himself having to have his body eaten by his sister regularly to keep her from feeding upon other people.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Utsutsu Hasegawa- The older brother of the siblings who has a sister complex towards Yume and found himself subjected to the abuse of his father regularly as a child. Having gained the ability to regenerate his body from the Pupa virus, Utsutsu subjects himself to being eaten by his sister to keep her hunger for flesh in check.
  • Yume Hasegawa- Utsutsu's younger sister whose exposure to the Pupa virus left her with an uncontrollable hunger for human flesh.
  • Ai Imari- A mysterious researcher who gathers information on the Pupa virus with little regard for the lives lost from it. She uses the Hasegawa siblings as her research subjects to learn more about the effects of the virus.
  • Shiro Onijima- Utsutsu and Yume's abusive father.
  • Sachiko Hasegawa- The mother of Utsutsu and Yume who was subjected to Shiro's abuse at first before he turned it towards Utsutsu. She cares greatly for her son, yet fears Yume due to knowing she was born a monster.

Why It Sucks

Laziness is the best word to describe the mess that is Pupa. While its premise seems like a unique one on paper for a horror anime, Studio Deen's choice of structuring Pupa into 12 four-minute shorts lead to really sloppy storytelling throughout the show's run.

Learning to kill since leaving the womb.
Learning to kill since leaving the womb.

Plot and character development is mostly nonexistent in this baby as Pupa is mostly focused on relishing in its gory content. Whatever little story it has is completely rushed through, has little time to build up and the characters in this are flat, cutout archetypes with little in the way of personality and depth. A good chunk of the violence in Pupa comes from Yume's gory slaughter and feeding on human victims, with her feeding on Utsutsu in particular carrying some rather creepy incest undertones.

Adding on to how lazy this is, the animation for Pupa is quite low quality with washed-out backgrounds, subpar character designs and animation shortcuts milked to death throughout its entire run.

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Sentai Filmworks announced today that they have acquired home video and streaming license rights to former Viz Media title, Saikano. The anime was animated by Gonzo in 2002 and released to home video in America by Viz in 2004. The series was based on the manga series She, the Ultimate Weapon written by Shin Takahashi. The series is a sci-fi/ romantic war drama focused on the relationship between high school students Chise and Shuji being tested when it is revealed that Chise underwent military experiments that turned her body into a cyborg weapon of war eating away at her humanity as she fights off enemy armies engaging in war with Japan.

Outside of the TV anime, there was also a two-episode OVA series prequel of the series made called Saikano: Another Love Song in 2005 and a Japanese live-action film adaptation of the series made in January 2006.

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Senran Kagura was a 12-episode ecchi-action TV anime that was animated by Artland and aired in Japan from January 6 to March 23 of 2013. The anime is based on a series of action video games created by Tamsoft since 2011 and have had a number of manga adaptations published since that time, one of which currently licensed in America by Seven Seas Entertainment called Senran Kagura: Skirting Shadows. The anime is currently licensed by Funimation, who had released the series to home video formats earlier this year.

The Plot

So how exactly does dressing like that allow you to blend in with your surroundings, Miss Ninja?
So how exactly does dressing like that allow you to blend in with your surroundings, Miss Ninja?

A group of five girls attend Hanzo Academy, a secret school that teaches its students the art of ninjutsu. However, the girls find their skills challenged when confronted by the students of their rival academy, Hibi Girls Academy, who seek to steal two secret scrolls containing knowledge of Hanzo Academy's most secret techniques.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Katsuragi- A third-year Hanzo Academy student who is a bit of a tomboy, shown to wear nothing underneath her school uniform and known to sexually harass her friends at the academy.
  • Asuka- A second-year Hanzo student known for her grandfather's status as a legendary ninja. She is a hard-working and energetic girl.
  • Ikaruga- A third-year Hanzo student descended from a famous ninja clan. She has a formal and collected personality.
  • Hibari- A cheerful, energetic first-year Hanzo student who is the weakest fighter among the group.
  • Yagyu- A first-year Hanzo student with a quiet and stoic personality, who is known to look out for Hibari's well-being.
  • Yomi- A second-year Hibi Girls Academy student who dons maid attire while in battle who targets Ikaruga during the clash between Hanzo and Hibi.
  • Homura- A second-year Hibi student known for her intense personality and rivalry with Asuka.
  • Haruka- A third-year Hibi student with a queen-type personality who targets those weaker than her, notably Hibari. She is shown to be something of a motherly figure for the Hibi underclassmen.
  • Hikage- A third-year Hibi student with a strong and emotionless personality with little motivation for her actions who targets Katsuragi throughout the series.
  • Mirai- A first-year Hibi student dressed in gothic lolita attire who targets Yagyu throughout the series.
  • Kiriya- The teacher of Asuka and the girls at Hanzo.

Why It Sucks

Enough T&A and sexual harassment to go around.
Enough T&A and sexual harassment to go around.

Outside of the anime's existence being to promote its video game source material, Senran Kagura is also not much different from prior ecchi-action titles like Ikki Tousen and Master of Martial Hearts in that its entire premise exists only to milk fan service shots and clothes-tearing action coming from the fights between female characters. The typical service shots are employed in this title which consist of panty shots, breast groping, characters in undressed states, a majority of the female cast having large bust sizes and some characters being in revealing or fetish-themed attire.

Beyond the title's emphasis on clothes-tearing action and ecchi antics, Senran Kagura is as shallow as many earlier entries in the ecchi-action genre when it comes to depth. Characters are paper-thin archetypes with attempts at giving them back story bordering on the ridiculous with overly tragic developments and their personalities not being much better off. The plot is just as shallow being a “good vs evil” style plot involving the ninja academies which build up to a rather ridiculous climax when it is revealed why one character desires the secret ninja scrolls. Episodes not focused on the academy conflict are instead focused on the training of the Hanzo students, but these don't offer much substance either.

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Green Green was a 12-episode ecchi/ comedy TV anime that aired from July 12 to September 29 of 2003, being animated by Studio Matrix. The series was based on an eroge dating sim game created by Groover in 2001 and also had a light novel series created for it that was printed in Japan from November 2002 to January 2004. There was a “thirteenth episode” of the series animated in OVA format in 2004 that bumps the content of the series up to hentai levels due to scenes of intercourse being present in the episode. The TV episodes of the anime were licensed by Media Blasters for American video release in 2006 and are now out of print.

The Story

Now, how many times have you seen this predicament happen in rom-coms and ecchi titles?
Now, how many times have you seen this predicament happen in rom-coms and ecchi titles?

The all-male boarding school of Kanenone Gakuen is in the process of merging with an all-girl's school to become co-ed and the female student body of said school are staying at Kanenone for a month to test out the merging. Unfortunately, much of the hormone-driven male student body becomes thrilled with this prospect and has led students such as those among the perverted trio known as the Baka Trio to lust for the female students. Besides dealing with the perverted antics of the Baka Trio, male lead Yusuke Takazaki comes upon a girl named Midori Chitose who excitedly proclaims that they were childhood friends promising to fall in love when they were younger.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Yusuke Takasaki- The male lead and most normal of the male student body at Kanenone, Yusuke often finds himself dragged into the perverted antics of the Baka Trio and is befuddled with the attention that Midori gives him.
  • Baka Trio- Consisting of Tadatomo Ijuuin, Hikaru Ichiban-Boshi and Taizo Tenjin, this trio of perverted students contribute much of the show's comedic reliefs with their lusting of the female students and attempts to peep on them. They often drag Yusuke into getting involved with their schemes.
  • Midori Chitose- A cheerful and energetic girl who appears to know Yusuke and has a seemingly one-sided crush on him, as she claims to know him from childhood.
  • Futaba Kutsuki- The boy-hating tsundere among the female student body who is the self-appointed protector of the female student body. She is known to physically lash out at the Baka Trio for their perverted antics and seemingly develops feelings for Yusuke throughout the course of the series.

Why It Sucks

Green Green is about as bottom of the barrel as you can get for an ecchi title with its entire premise being a very flimsy excuse to show off male perversion and a good helping of fan service involving its female cast. This isn't too surprising considering the title's eroge game origins.

Lady, you should have castrated that moron.
Lady, you should have castrated that moron.

The show has little in the way of plot as many episodes in the series are devoted to typical predicaments in romantic comedies and ecchi titles to get as much perverted content out of the series as possible. This is most notable with the Baka Trio as every episode in the series feature them lusting for the female cast, making attempts to molest or peep on them and often dragging Yusuke into their antics. Its ecchi content tends to vary at points with female cast members often flashing panty shots, being in undressed states or showing off frontal nudity for bath scenes. The content usually gets disturbing at points thanks to the lewd fantasies and antics of the Baka Trio.

Beyond the perverted content, there isn't really much in the way of substance for the series. Many characters in the series are flat, one-dimensional archetypes with little depth and not too memorable. Also, the series makes a half-assed attempt at a plot involving two major characters being reincarnations of forbidden lovers yet this gets little focus and buildup until the final two episodes of the series as Green Green was more fixated on showing off its ecchi content for many episodes. Even when it does finally get focused on, the plot isn't too effective at creating anything compelling thanks to its poor buildup and the characters being too archetypal to really care about, much less caring about any possible relationship developments that take place.

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