Dream (Level 21)

Pretty much done with submitting any more stuff on here with the site shutdown coming.
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Announced on Friday via the seventh volume of its manga series, Monster Musume will be receiving an anime adaptation that will be premiering in July of this year. The mentioned seventh volume showed off the first anime visual for the series. No other details on the adaptation have been announced at this time, though there was a campaign by the manga's Japanese distributors launched back in September via Twitter that asked of fan opinions about a possible anime adaptation of the series.

Monster Musume, also known as Monster Musume no Iru Nichijo, is an ongoing harem romantic comedy series that is currently published in Tokuma Shoten's Monthly Comic Ryu manga magazine. The series is focused on a human teenager named Kimihito Kurusu who winds up being inadvertently volunteered for an exchange program with monsters which leads to a lamia named Miia and several other monster girls taking residence at his house. While all the monster girls have varying degrees of affection for him, Kimihito must resist the urge to get intimate with them as laws forbid consummation between humans and monsters. The series is currently being published here in America through Seven Seas Entertainment.

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Sentai Filmworks has announced today that they have acquired licensing and home video distribution rights to the ongoing series, Parasyte: The Maxim. Besides the Americas, Sentai's rights to distribute the series extend also to the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The popular series will be aired on Japanese TV for 24 episodes and has been broadcasting since October of last year. The series is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll.

Based on Hitoshi Iwaaki's 1990s seinen manga series, Parasyte focuses on a high school student named Shinichi Izumi, whose right hand becomes possessed by an alien parasite named Migi and the two coexist as they fend off other parasite hosts that have taken over human bodies. The manga has been published in America by Tokyopop and Del Ray Manga. Kodansha Comics currently has printing rights to the manga series here in the states.

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Announced just a short time ago via their Facebook page, Discotek stated that they have now entered into a partnership with anime streaming site Crunchyroll to license recent anime titles for Region 1 DVD release. The company announced the first round of titles that they will be licensing under this partnership as all the releases will be coming out on DVD later this year, having only Japanese audio with English subtitles. Here are the titles that Discotek will be releasing as part of this partnership:

Discotek had announced that there may be an English dub for Free! released sometime down the road after the subtitled version gets released. However there are no definite plans laid out yet for when the dubbing will commence or which company would be responsible for it. The company announced that they would release more information on all these releases at a later date.

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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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