Dream (Level 21)

Year End Garbage Review on Pupa is up: http://www.animevice.com/profile/dream/ani-crap-year-end-garbage-review-ii-pupa/107-11977/. My 50th Ani-Crap Review poll will be up in two weeks.
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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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I wasn't really sure how to think of this one. It's got all the makings of something I would normally rip apart, yet it has presentation and style rarely found within the mentioned trappings. I guess I'll be doing this in another slightly tweaked format to offer my thoughts of it.

High School of the Dead was a 12-episode horror/ ecchi/ action title that was animated by Madhouse and aired from July 5 to September 20 of 2010. The series is based on the manga series created by Daisuke and Shoji Sato for Monthly Dragon Age magazine since September 2006, with the series currently on hiatus. The anime is licensed for American streaming and video release by Sentai Filmworks.

The Plot

I'd run if I were you.
I'd run if I were you.

A zombie pandemic is affecting the human populace at large with affected humans turned into zombies. A group of high school students and their nurse find themselves on the run as they struggle to survive and encounter the changing world order with societal collapse and the decay of moral codes.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Takashi Komuro- The male lead and unofficial leader among the group of high schoolers as they fight to survive against zombie hordes. He fights at first with a baseball bat, yet later gains a pistol and riot shotgun.
  • Rei Miyamoto- Takashi's childhood friend and possible love interest. Being in her school's sojutsu (spear-wielding) club, she is skilled in wielding a spear as she first fights with a broom having a shattered, sharp end and later upgrades to a semi-automatic rifle with a bayonet attachment.
  • Saeko Busujima- A third-year high school student with a calm and composed personality who is part of her school's kendo club. She fights with a bokken at first and later gains a katana.
  • Saya Takagi- A bespectacled second-year student and friend of Takashi who is also the daughter of an influential right-wing politician. She is unarmed at first, but later makes use of a rifle and pistol throughout her journey with the group.
  • Kohta Hirano- A gun otaku who makes use of a number of firearms throughout the group's journey such as a custom-made nail gun and a sniper rifle.
  • Shizuka Marikawa- The ditzy school nurse who accompanies the group of high school students and serves as their driver while they make use of a school bus and Humvee to trek through zombie-infested areas.
  • Alice Maresato- A 7-year old girl rescued by the group after her father is killed by members of a household not giving them shelter from a horde of zombies.
  • Koichi Shido- A sadistic teacher hated among many of his students due to his twisted and manipulative personality, with no regard for the lives of those he considers weak. He manipulates a number of surviving students into becoming mindless followers of his own personal cult.

The Review

High School of the Dead is more or less something of a parody of zombie movies as a group of high schoolers fight for their lives with the zombie apocalypse hitting the Japanese populace. The anime mostly relishes in the spectacle of seeing zombie hordes getting slain in various ways, the populace struggling with moral inhibitions to ensure self-preservation and plenty of T&A going around thanks to the anime's copious amounts of fan service and ecchi content it shows off. Visually, the anime is one of the better animated 2010 anime titles to be made making creative use of camera positions and effects such as bullet time, zoom shots and swooshing angles to depict the intense zombie-killing action that unfolds, with scenery shots looking vast and well-detailed when the camera pans out to show them off.

Rather nonchalant wearing that in front of guys, aren't we?
Rather nonchalant wearing that in front of guys, aren't we?

While the series is a rarity for anime in being a zombie survival title, it doesn't have much to offer in terms of depth, with the plot and characters to High School of the Dead being rather paper-thin. The plot is mostly repetitive as our group of high schoolers have to regularly fight through zombie hordes, find shelter for a period of time, wind up fleeing when their shelter is breached and repeat. It also often disregards proper logic for the sake of its spectacle as characters are known to not make smart decisions regularly in this series and details such as proper government action and ammo supply are often disregarded.

The characters are not much better as they are mostly archetypal and get little in the way of development, most notable of these characters being an otaku who is seemingly a representation of a stereotypical otaku with his enjoyment of shooting his way through zombies and usually relishing in the women that are within his group. Speaking of the women, High School of the Dead has them purposely designed to be well-endowed and sporting a good number of fan service/ ecchi moments with panty shots, breast jiggling, revealing attire, clothes changing scenes, a bath scene and an orgy. The mentioned fan service is mixed in at many points during the zombie battle scenes, with the series clearly aimed at fans of gory action and ecchi titles.

Overall, High School of the Dead mostly gets by with the style it emphasizes with its presentation and premise, while lacking quite a bit on the end of substance. If you don't mind some mindless entertainment, this would make for a decent rental. But if you are looking for more substance or are not a big fan of gore and ecchi content, then this isn't a title worth picking up.

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