Before I start this review, I want to give thanks to Wraith for pointing out some relevant information for me during voting revolving around the premise for Sleeping with Hinako. Otherwise, here we go with this quick review.
Isshoni Sleeping: Sleeping with Hinako is the second of a series of three OAV titles released by Primastea on February 11, 2010 that involve an otaku pandering premise revolving around its titular female character, Hinako.
Hinako is back to teach you, the viewer, how to sleep! Seriously, this is all there is for the premise.
Hinako- A former hikikomori who turns into a busty and attractive anime character. This motivates her into wanting to encourage otaku to get into shape. She loves exercising, bathing and sleeping; as well as dressing in lingerie and school gym outfits.
Sleeping with Hinako is another of many anime titles made in the 2009-2010 period whose sole purpose of existence is only to pander to the otaku crowd.
This OAV is notable in the fact that you can actually program the DVD or Blu-Ray disc of it (if you actually have it instead of a fansub) to let you sleep for 6 or 8 hour intervals and adjust it accordingly depending on one’s sleeping habits. The disc then randomizes different animated footage from the disc accordingly to create the illusion of Hinako sleeping along with you and it would then wake you up via alarm once the amount of time set is up.
Sleeping with Hinako features the typical elements you would find in an otaku pandering work with Hinako being your cute, naïve and well-endowed gal who you regularly get to see enough boob and panty shots with throughout the title. With the gimmick offered through this OAV, there is hardly any type of plot to be found in it, outside of Hinako’s occasional interactions with the viewer. The anime quite often reuses animated frames to go along with the different shots that are randomized when set up for sleep.
If you did wind up getting the fansub for Sleeping with Hinako, then it makes watching the OAV rather boring as much of the first half of it only features different shots of a sleeping Hinako that would be cycled through on disc releases of it, followed by the title’s “special events” and three different endings.
Seikon no Qwaser was an ecchi comedy/ fantasy/ adventure series animated by Hoods Entertainment that aired for 24 episodes from January 9 to June 19 of 2010. The anime is based on the ongoing shounen manga series written by Hiroyuki Yoshino and illustrated by Kenetsu Sato for Champion Red magazine. It was edited for TV broadcast during its original TV airing and was shown uncensored via webcast on AnimeOne. The anime was recently licensed for American video distribution and digital release by Sentai Filmworks, who plan to release the series later this year.
At the private Eastern Orthodox school known as St. Mihailov Academy, high school student Mafuyu Oribe encounters a young Russian boy named Aleksander “Sasha” Nikolaevich Hell who possesses the unique ability to manipulate the element of iron. He is one of many superpowered beings called Qwasers who have the ability to manipulate a different element and rely on sucking on the breast milk of girls to replenish their powers. Sasha is in conflict with a group of powerful Qwasers called the Adepts who have sinister plans that revolve around the St. Mihailov campus.
-Alexander “Sasha” Nikolaevich Hell- A young Russian Qwaser with the ability to manipulate iron. He has journeyed to Japan to seek revenge on the Adepts who killed his former caretaker, Olja, as a child and struggles in bonding with others while living as a student at St. Mihailov.
-Mafuyu Oribe- A St. Mihailov student who was the adopted daughter of the academy’s last dean and puts up with bullying from classmates. She becomes involved in Sasha’s fights against the Adepts throughout the series.
-Ekaterina “Katja” Kurae- Another young Qwaser with the ability to manipulate copper through a large puppet she controls called “Mama”. A sharp-tongued girl who normally dresses in gothic lolita attire, takes on the guise of an innocent girl while around others in public and has interest in sadomasochistic acts which she normally performs on her willing partner, Hana Katsuragi.
-Teresa Beria- A Serbian Orthodox nun who accompanies Sasha on his journey to Japan who normally serves as the boy’s source of replenishment for his Qwaser powers.
-Tomo Yamanobe- The well-endowed, weak and naïve best friend and roommate of Mafuyu.
Seikon no Qwaser was part of an ongoing trend of ecchi anime in 2010 that developed some kind of perverted fetish to hook in its horny otaku fanbase, this being the consumption of breast milk that serves as a Qwaser’s source of replenishment of their powers.
Looking past Seikon no Qwaser’s perverted content, the anime is essentially nothing more than a clichéd plot with character archetypes you likely would have seen done to death from other conventional anime titles. The protagonists and school students seen throughout the series are a hodge-podge of characters seen from high school comedy/ fan service titles like the sharp-tongued loli, the shy gal, the ojou, the ditz and the tomboy. The villains are nothing more than either mooks who inevitably will get killed off or self-centered baddies who think they are better than everyone else and desire world domination of some sort, no different from any baddie you find from a long-running shounen action anime or manga.
M.D. Geist was a gory action OAV series animated by Studio Wave and Zero G-Room in 1986. Production on the OAV was a mess with much of the direction for the anime done by a then young and inexperienced director named Koichi Ohata and a disorganized animation team, which led to the anime’s producers to have to recruit the more experienced Hayato Ikeda for occasional consulting.
The anime was picked up for North American VHS distribution in the early 1990s by Central Park Media who used the main character of Geist as the logo for their anime label, U.S. Manga Corps. M.D. Geist winded up being one of the distributor’s best-selling titles at the time and decided to collaborate with Ikeda to release a Director’s Cut edition of the OAV which extended the anime by five minutes and cleaned up many of the animation and transition errors from the original release. Manga Corps also helped provide support for Ikeda in creating the title’s anime sequel, Death Forces, and a comic book adaptation called Ground Zero.
Manga Corps would later distribute a DVD release of both OAVs to M.D. Geist in 2002 up to when Central Park Media declared bankruptcy in early 2009. ADV Films winded up license rescuing both OAVs later in the year and releasing them to DVD on the same disc. Manga Entertainment has streaming rights to the anime as it can be viewed legally online via Hulu.
If you want a fun read about M.D. Geist, check out this Buried Garbage article from Anime News Network several years back from the site’s media director, Justin Sevakis, as he recalls his painful experience putting up with the huge love that his former boss, CPM founder John O’Donnell, had for the anime during his work for the distributor.
Geist was part of a group of superhuman soldiers called Most Dangerous Soldiers (MDS) created by the Regular Army to fight against the Nexrum Army in a bloody war on
the planet Jerra. Unfortunately, the MDS units had no regard for whom they fought as they would attack both ally and foe. This led to the Regular Army to make countermeasures against the MDS units as they forced Geist into cryogenic sleep and launched him into space by satellite. Years later, the satellite crashes back onto the surface of Jerra and Geist is awakened from his sleep. After encountering a group of bandits, Geist is reunited with the Regular Army as he becomes tasked with trying to save the planet from a doomsday weapon called Death Force set to annihilate all life on Jerra.
-Geist- The main protagonist of the series. A member of the MDS units with a strong love of battling who has no regard for whomever gets in his way.
-Vaiya- A female member of the group of bandits that encounter Geist after he awakens from his cryogenic sleep. Greedy for money and admiring Geist for his strength, Vaiya makes several attempts at trying to bring the MDS to her side throughout the OAV to no avail.
-Colonel Krutes- Leader of the Regular Army soldiers and
Geist’s former superior whom Geist assists in the mission to stop Death Force.
With the messy background on M.D. Geist’s production that I brought up above, it’s no wonder that it is well-known as one of anime’s infamous duds. The title has a nice number of sloppy transitions where changes between camera shots and scenes look badly edited. The animation quality isn’t much better as it has not aged too well and is noticeably low quality compared to other anime titles released in the mid-80s having a decent number of animation errors and resorting to enough animation shortcuts as the liberal use of speed stripes and still frames of characters meshed together are fairly common in the title.
The plot to M.D. Geist is very barebones, mostly just being an excuse for Geist’s gory fights against anything that comes his way. The series attempts a twist ending for its finale, but this lacks any kind of impact due to the lack of depth on elements of the title’s plot.
The characters in the series are not much better off either as they are quite one-dimensional in depth and have very little diversity in their personality. For the lead character of the series, Geist comes across as a stereotypical action movie hero, only having much less personality and too consumed with the desire of wanting to engage in battles for one to even care for the guy.
Samurai Shodown was based on the cult hit fighting video game series, Samurai Spirits, made by SNK in 1993 with the game being notable as one of the first fighting games that made use of weaponry as part of its combat system. A TV special that loosely adapted the game’s plot and characters was aired on Fuji TV the following year on September 8. The anime was licensed by ADV Films in the late 1990s releasing the movie on VHS and later on DVD in 2003, with both versions being out of print.
Haohmaru and six other warriors are chosen Holy Warriors tasked with preventing the unsealing of the power of the evil god Ambrosia. However, one of the warriors named Amakusa betrayed the other six by breaking the god’s seal to obtain Ambrosia’s power. He proceeds to kill the six in a confrontation yet fails to prevent their souls from escaping. One hundred years later, Amakusa is now the corrupt leader of Japan and seeks to wipe out humanity by freeing Ambrosia from his seal. Fortunately, the six Holy Warriors have been reincarnated and are prepared to fight their former comrade. However, Haohmaru has no memory of his past life as a Holy Warrior and the other five warriors find themselves having to try getting him to recall his former life before confronting Amakusa.
-Haohmaru- One of the reincarnated Holy Warriors who has no memory of his former life. The cocky and energetic young swordsman had settled in a small Japanese village before it was wiped out by Amakusa’s forces. Consumed with rage, Haohmaru seeks to avenge the loss of his mother and other villagers, unaware that he is becoming a pawn in Amakusa’s plans.
-Amakusa- A powerful sorcerer who was once one of the Holy Warriors. After being fatally wounded in a heated battle, Amakusa used the last of his strength to release the seal on Ambrosia’s power so he could be resurrected. However, this power corrupts his mind and consumes him to destroy the six other Holy Warriors and have the desire to wipe out humanity by releasing the evil god from his seal.
Samurai Shodown is no different from many horrible anime adaptations of video game titles as the movie’s creators seemed more concerned with making a quick buck off the video game’s popularity than offering a quality anime title to watch.
The title’s Holy Warriors storyline is an anime-original one that has a nice number of glaring plot holes and logical lapses. Considering it took one hundred years in the storyline for the six killed warriors to be reborn and reunite, you would have to wonder why Amakusa didn’t bother wiping out humanity in that time or kill the warriors outright
while they were much younger to keep them from being a threat.
Alongside its issues with its anime-original plot, Samurai Shodown carries all the typical flaws you would find in an anime adapted from a fighting video game series. Characters from the video game, regardless of their role, are added in having little depth compared to Haohmaru and Amakusa, seemingly being around just to please fans of the video game. Pacing is clearly rushed which greatly limits any depth one can get from the anime’s plot and characters for one to even care about them. Also, the anime borrows enough clichés from typical action anime such as sudden power upgrades, hammy and cocky villains and way too much emphasis on the main hero despite earlier plot mentions.
Even as an action title, Samurai Shodown fails to deliver good quality in its action scenes thanks to its below average animation. Lazy choreography, reused animation frames and the use of speed stripes in backgrounds are the norm with any action scene you can find in Samurai Shodown.
ADV even had its part to play in enhancing the horrific quality of Samurai Shodown when they changed Amakusa’s gender into a woman for their English dub, only adding more to the gender confusion folks had of the androgynous villain’s character.